Poverty and migration in the last ten years has considerably weakened the institution of the family in Moldova, according to UNICEF in its reports on the situation in the country. Since 1991, about 1.5 million Moldovans have left the country looking for jobs and means of subsistence for them and their families.
A second generation of Moldovans have already left in this search for a better future. While their parents were earning money abroad, children were growing up without parental care, attention or proper family education. According to official statistics, more than 160,000 children were left behind in the last two decades, but unofficial data raises this number to 300,000.
For social orphans – as children left behind to their own fate are called – lack of parental care, extreme poverty, very low life skills and literacy levels, frequent violence, addiction and other dangers influence moral, mental and psycho-emotional development and cause anxiety. The emotional life of children left behind is marked by disappointment and a feeling of being lied to, abandoned and betrayed.
These are common backgrounds of children in Moldova, especially in rural areas of the country. About 200,000 Moldovan children do not continue education after secondary school, or even leave school unfinished. Consequently, according to statistics, the children – girls especially – are more likely to become victims of human trafficking, child pornography and sexual violence.
In response to awareness of these issues, BOL established the ‘Dream House’ prevention center for girls at risk – a place where the child can feel safe, and where she will be accepted, understood and supported. The primary purpose of this center is to protect young girls from violence, exploitation and trafficking networks, and to help them develop a consistent and holistic character.
In close partnership with local authorities, ‘Dream House’ has already offered places for eight girls aged 13-14 years who were left behind in Moldovan villages. They were accepted, on the basis of BOL’ and the Department of Child Protection’ recommendations for studies in the high schools and colleges of Chisinau. Our prevention center program is designed for three years, within which ten girls will receive holistic support.
Involving into our Urban Center and Psychological Art Studio activities, girls will find intellectual and psycho-emotional help and social integration
among other young people.