The Valentina Association is essentially focused on providing scholastic support to children, however we also aim to improve the lives of the families of those children in need, specifically in cases of emergency.
During one of my visits together with our social assistant in the Ferentari neighborhood, shortly before Christmas, we witnessed the condition of extreme distress in which a family of three children was living in.
Following an accidental fire in their home, the family was relocated to a new cement-based housing; without any glass covering the windows, without electricity or heating. The cold was becoming intense and humidity was visible on the walls.
The family, having a great sense of pride, had not alerted the association as of the difficult situation they were in. Their three children were already taken care of by the association at the nursery, the day center and received warm clothing donations as well as warm lunch meals. For the parents, this already seemed like a lot and did not wish to ask for more. Without the visit we had made, we would never have known about the true state of their difficulties.
Shocked by the living conditions the family had to endure, I took it upon myself to make some pictures for the first time, with the permission of the family, as to subsequently see with the direction of Valentina what can be done as to install proper glass windows and at least a minimum of heating during the winter period. It was immediately decided that funds should be allocated in order to install new windows and a wood-based heating system.
I was able to return to the family, after a few weeks to see the progression of the renovations, and to provide a wardrobe for the family. It was quite cozy in the end, although not yet a paradise…
Other renovations would however yet be useful as to improve their daily lives, notably for running water (there is only a well), or install a toilet. The father himself pursues a few reparations around the most dilapidated parts of the household.
Although the association does not aim to assume a parental role, it can sometimes intervene and give a hand; clearing out a path for better future – one where the family may live in dignity.
This family had particularly struck me emotionally, and moved me with the dignity they had kept while living in unacceptable conditions, their kindness and the love which reign over their household.
Stéphanie Dridi- Volunteer at Valentina Romania