Silvia never knew what it was like to live in a loving home. At the age of ten, she was sent to live in an orphanage in Moldova, away from her mother who suffered from a severe alcohol addiction. Despite the care she received, she was only able to attend school till the eighth grade. As an adult, she started working at a sewing factory, then later as a janitor at a children’s shelter.
Eventually Silvia became a mother to two little girls: Olga and Nina. She didn’t know what it would be like to be a mother – let alone how one could be a good mother – nor did she have any role models from her past to guide her. She had no choice but to try her best and care for her children on her own, but none of it was natural for her.
Silvia’s daughters outside of their home
By the time the girls were two and four years old, Silvia chose to look for the outside help she’d never been given. Silvia and her daughters moved to a local shelter for women and children where they could be supported for some time. We first met Silvia when distributing winter boots for children living in the shelter. CERI immediately began to help Silvia with counseling, financial support, and encouragement. With the help of her case manager, Silvia also began to learn good parenting skills.
Soon her children had a new kind of parent, trained and equipped for the hardships of motherhood.
Silvia and her girls
But then it all took a turn for the worst. By the time her eldest daughter was ready to start first grade, Silvia was hospitalized. The doctors discovered that she had a tumor, and it had to be immediately removed were she to live. Fearing that her children would be forced into the same parentless childhood of her own, she asked CERI to help take care of her girls.
A CERI case manager looked after the girls and took them shopping for school supplies, shoes and clothing, and made sure Olga started first grade and Nina went into kindergarten. Against the odds, Silvia recovered from the surgery and was reunited with her daughters.
But the tumor grew back a year later, and she had to have another surgery. Once again, she recovered from her surgery, and came back to her children. Then once again, the tumor returned, and so she returned. Silvia has undergone four surgeries so far. Her daughters worry about losing her. Every time she must leave to have another surgery, they ask if she will return.
CERI Case Manager visiting Silvia and her daughters
Silvia is thankful for the support she has received. Her daughters mean the world to her and despite the health problems she faces, she wants to keep her daughters with her. What she wants the most for her daughters is for them to be raised at home, do well in school, have a career and good life.
Our boot distributions in Moldova connect us with families like Silvia’s. Through one pair of boots, we have the opportunity to transform an entire family forever.