MOLDOVA: Salesians Help Youth Move Ahead

By at February 8, 2012 | 10:57 am | Print

MOLDOVA: Salesians Help Youth Move Ahead

(MissionNewswire) The Parliament of Moldova failed to elect a permanent president on Dec. 16, 2011, slowing down reforms in the country which, according to Reuters, is one of the poorest in Europe.

While only one candidate was running in the latest election, communist party members boycotted the vote and prevented the election of the acting president Marian Lupu, described as left of center. The Parliament must now schedule another election within a month, or face all new parliamentary elections. Moldova has had no permanent president since communist leader Vladimir Voronin stepped down in September 2009.

Among the economic reforms that are expected to be affected are efforts to create jobs in the country. In her article, “Children Heading Households in Moldova”, The New York Times journalist Isabel Castro reports that as many as a quarter of the 4.3 million people listed as living in Moldova actually work in Italy and other Western European countries, sending pay home to support their families.

“Parents continuously send money and food back home to Moldova, trying to compensate for their absence. But children are losing the notion of family, nationality and livelihood. They are, indeed, being deprived of their childhoods…” writes Castro.

The latest UNICEF statistics show that more than 8,800 children are in institutions, deprived of family care, and that in tens of thousands of other families, one or both parents leave their children to work abroad because they cannot find jobs locally. In addition, Poor families have a difficult time paying for school and often do not understand that education can help their children find better jobs.

Against this backdrop, the Salesian community in the city of Chisinau is dedicated to providing opportunity to at-risk youth.

“We believe in the need to provide these children and youth a safe family atmosphere and then the tools they need to discover and develop their talents, as well as a dream to live by,” says the Rector Major, Father Pascual Chávez.

Most recently, Salesians opened a new family home for young orphans and at-risk youth. The first five residents, ages 8-15 have moved into the home, which can accommodate up to 11 youngsters, all of whom will have a safe place to live and the support of a group of adults: a Salesian, two educators, a psychologist and a cook.

“Often we are asked, why have a house for so few children? We reply that we want to create a model home that runs like a family and encourages disadvantaged youngsters,” says Fr. Sergio Bergamin, rector of the Chisinau Center.

The Don Bosco Centre in Chisinau, which opened in 2005, brings together hundreds of youngsters in the day center and oratory, offering them various opportunities to grow.

“Throughout the years, the Salesians have come across many youth who were abandoned and forced to grow up without any adult assistance. For this reason, they have pursued the dream of providing a family setting for at least a small group of children, in addition to their many other activities,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

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PHOTO courtesy Don Bosco Chisinau

Sources:

Salesian Info Agency article

Reuters (Election news)

UNICEF info on Moldova

The New York Times article/photo essay on children in Moldova

The New York Times article “Children Heading Households in Moldova”

The New York Times country profile

 

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