“In the morning, as I wake up, I look around the house to see the things I have to do today. I like working with father Slavic. If there is anything I cannot do, he helps me," says Ion, looking for Mr. Veaceslav.
Ion is one of the people who benefit from the Shared Living Service. Up to the age of 30, Ion lived in many residential institutions. Since November 2013, he has been living with the family of "father Slavic" and "mother Lenuța." He also has a "brother" and a "sister," with whom he has quarrels from time to time, but whom he misses very much when they are not at home. "I love them all: father, mother, grandmother Maria, Cristina and Valeriu." In the family, Ion has found the care and support he needs to live in the community. Here, he has learned the meaning of patience, respect toward other people, as well as self-respect, and each day in the family means a new lesson, a new skill acquired.
"It was more difficult in the beginning. He did not even know how to wash himself. Now, he does not even enter the house if he has worked in the yard and his clothes are dirty," says Mrs. Elena, the family assistant. She also tells us the difficulties Ion had in managing to talk with the family. Now, however, early in the morning, together with the father, he brings corn to feed the cow. Later, together with his sister, he sweeps the yard and is eager for the evening to come in order to speak to his brother, who is abroad, on Skype. When Valeriu is at home, every evening, the boys play sports, or, as Ion says, "make the muscles grow." He helps his mother organize clothes. "I put the clothes on the bed and when I return, they are already folded and separated by color and size," smiles Mrs. Elena. Grandmother Maria is also satisfied: "He is very nice! He helps us in the yard, feeds the animals and collects the garbage. He himself knows what he has to do. He works and then he is careful enough to collect and put everything in place." Sundays are dedicated to rest: in the morning, Ion accompanies the grandmother to the church, sleeps at noon, and, in the afternoon, the family holds barbecues and dancing. In order to take Ion's preferences into account, a new tradition appeared in the family – eating ice-cream every afternoon.
Ion has started to make friends with other young men in the village. A few weeks ago, he went swimming. "I loved it at the lake. I went with Valeriu, Cristina, Tudor and some other boys. I have only dipped my feet into the water, because I do not know how to swim yet." From time to time, he speaks with Tudor on the phone and is happy to have a new friend.
When asked if he likes staying in the family, Ion smiles: "It feels good to be at home. Here, I am free. I go wherever I want, I work how I want. If I want to eat, I do it. I am not going anywhere from here!" he says.
The Shared Living Service has been developed within Community for All – Moldova Program, implemented by Keystone Human Services International Moldova Association, in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family (MLSPF), with financial support of Open Society Foundations / Mental Health Initiatives and Soros Foundation-Moldova .