Today the last class bell rang for Alexandru, marking the start of vacation for him and his classmates. A year ago, very few people truly believed that this boy, who had returned to his family after four years spent in the Home for Children (boys) with Mental Disabilities in Orhei, would be able to attend a school of general education and keep pace with the other children. But Alexandru succeeded. He succeeded because he was offered a chance and the necessary support. Despite those who treated him with skepticism and suspicion, Alexandru learned the alphabet, numbers, to write and read poems and songs. Not only that, but he also learned to live in the community again.
Alexandru was born healthy, but when he was 5 years old, he was hit by a motorcycle and suffered a craniocerebral trauma. The accident has affected not only his body, but also his intellectual development. Poverty, lack of adequate services for his needs, and schools’ refusal to accept him forced Alexandru’s mother to place him in the boarding house in Orhei where the boy stayed four years. Svetlana, his mother, now realizes that those four years were a lost time for rehabilitation and his development, but she did not have a better solution at that time as she was raising him alone.
Things have changed with the intervention of the Community for All-Moldova Program that supported Alexandru’s mother in her wish to return the child home. Ilie, Alexandru’s mother’s husband, shared her decision and became a true father for Alexandru. The project supported the child to rejoin his family and helped to improve their living conditions, including purchasing clothing and shoes for Alexandru and furniture for his room. Alexandru also received educational support, teaching support, and a computer, which he learned to use in a very short time with his father’s help. Now he has his own room, possessions, toys, and books – things he did not have in the institution.
“When I brought him home, Alexandru was doing lots of things he used to do in Orhei – eating quickly, looking around to make sure nobody takes away his food, stretching words when talking,” recalls Alexandru’s mother.
The positive changes are mostly due to the fact that Alexandru began attending the Moldovan-Russian No.3 school in Chisinau, where he was accepted and included.
At home he learned things that may appear simple, but are actually very difficult for a child who is unable to freely use his right hand and right foot – to get dressed and put on his shoes alone, to collect his toys and get up and down the stairs to six floors independently. Moreover, he helps his mother with the housekeeping – cleaning, washing dishes, shopping. His parents can go to work without worrying, confident that everything will be okay and that Alexandru will know how to help himself.
The positive changes are mostly due to the fact that Alexandru began attending the Moldovan-Russian No.3 school in Chisinau, where he was accepted and included. His teacher, Catherine Dediu, became a reliable ally for him while he adapted to school. “Alexandru is a child like everyone else, who only needs to be helped a little,” she said to us. “I’ve never isolated him from other children, and his peers have always been willing to help him. During this year, we have achieved more positive results and in the second grade we intend to work even more. He’s a very good kid and I think that he will grow up to be a good man,” stated Mrs. Dediu.
Because he missed so much while he was in the institution, Alexndru attends extra classes, which have helped him to absorb new knowledge and keep up with other children.
At school, Alexandru has made many friends. Together, they visited the zoo and the theater. Alexandru has an outgoing personality, and he often welcomes the school director in the morning, asking how she is doing and how things are going for her. Alexandru says he likes school, because it is interesting, he has many friends, he plays with other children, and learns letters and numbers.
His mother’s doubts over her son’s future have disappeared. “Before I had doubts that my son would be able to lead a normal life when he would grow up, that he would find a place to work and would take care of himself alone. But now I am convinced that he can, that he will succeed. I think his future will be beautiful and full of accomplishments.”
Now as he finished second grade, Alexandru is very proud and even thinks that one day, when he grows up, he will have a job, like his parents. Happy that he lives with his mother and father, now Alexandru asks God for nothing other than candies and toys.