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“Home” is a place where Andrei learned to smile

Sitting close to his cousin who is also his best colleague that he plays with and his main support, Andrei looks curiously into the book with the colorful drawings which is lying on their knees. Together they learn new and interesting things. With a real sincerity she shows to Andrei the drawings explaining him the meaning and the name of every object, the sounds each animal or object makes. Many of them are familiar to Andrei and he can easily indicate to them when his little teacher asks him. From the moment he returned home Andrei changed a lot, he was reserved, always scared and dropping his eyes in the presence of an unknown person. Now the boy transformed into a quiet, communicative child, who learned to smile.

Andrei is a child with mental disabilities who spent five years of his life in the boarding house for children (boys) with mental difficulties from Orhei.  Because of his disabilities, he can’t talk and the family placed him in that institution with the hope that there he would learn at least the simplest words. But as the time has been passed the family didn’t see any progress. Andrei’s situation got worse instead of being better; his grandmother said that he didn’t learn to communicate. After that, together with his father, they decided to take him home, because, according to them, he suffered from malnutrition in that institution.
When Andrei’s family decided to take him home forever from the boarding house from Orhei, neither the modest life conditions nor the skeptical attitude of the neighbors about the child could change their opinion. This family, where both the mother and son have mental disabilities, had the courage to fight against financial and social difficulties, being supported by the “Community for All-Moldova” project in its decision to take Andrei back home.
„When we took him home from the boarding house he was so thin, but he recovered quickly, because he ate the same food we ate, but in Orhei, who knows…  Of course, sometimes it is very difficult for us, other time is easier, but the important thing is that Andrei is close to us and that we care about him”, says his grandmother.
Because of the precarious economical situation of the families where one of the members has mental disability, often they have a negative image in the community. But Andrei’s family is respected in the community and if they will need help all the neighbors will help them immediately. The head of the family and the grandmother are hard-working and responsible persons and do everything is possible to offer Andrei and his mother a better life. Even being a pensioner the grandmother always finds a job in the village and Andrei’s father periodically goes to Moscow to work.
But to ensure the family with a permanent income, in the frame of the project, was bought a cow for Andrei’s family. At the same time with the cow the family received a bonus from the seller, a calf. Andrei’s grandmother says that this help is very important for the family because the milk, cheese, and cream they obtain from the cow ensure them the food for the children.
Also, for the amelioration of the child’s life conditions in the parental house, with the “Community for All-Moldova” project’s financial support the child’s room was equipped. There was purchased a bed and changed the window and door for a better warmth’s conservation, during the winter. Plus to these, for the child there were bought clothes, shoes, food, developmental games.
Andrei’s mother, together with him, learns to communicate more efficiently and develop her abilities of self service, both of them beneficiating from the support of the psychologist - logopedist. All the family is involved in the training of Andrei and his mother by helping them to learn some life skills. Thankful to this support Andrei and his mother show progress in the development and communication. Daily Andrei makes gymnastics with his father and goes for a walk with him; with other family members he studies the books and helps his grandmother with housekeeping. Also the relation between Andrei and his mother has improved, now she helps him to get dressed; she takes care about the son’s hygiene and helps him in his training activities.
With the support of the specialist from the „Community for All-Moldova” project Andrei learned with other children and youth with mental difficulties, to photograph. He took many photographs of his family and parental yard. The best of them were exposed with the photographs of other children and youth within a special exhibition, in the hall of the Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child.
It is almost a year from the moment when Andrei returned home. The time spent together changed the family’s vision about children with mental disabilities. Children have to grow in families and if they have a disability, they need more attention and support for a better possible development – this is the message from Andrei’s family and relative that they want to share with all parents who sent or who intend to send their children to a boarding house.