I recently met this incredible woman by the name of Tatiana (which also happens to be my daughter’s middle name!) who is the co-founder of an organization called Love is Kind. Love is Kind assists children and families in an Eastern European Country called Moldova. Before I go into depth about the incredible work they are doing at Love is Kind, I asked Tatiana to tell us a little more about Moldova.
I was quite embarrassed to admit to her that I wasn’t familiar with this place she once called ‘Home’. This is just another reminder of why travel is so important. Apparently, I am not alone. She shared that Moldova is often mistaken to be everywhere but where it actually is.
Moldova is an Eastern-European country, located between Ukraine and Romania, also known to be one of Europe’s poorest countries. Although the country has been independent of the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory supporting the separatist region of Transnistria (composed of mostly Russians and Ukrainians). According to CIA Factbook, Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a communist as its president in 2001.
Moldova faces a big problem of mass migration of its population. In 2014 Moldova rated one of the top 5 countries in the world whose population is declining at a rapid rate. Around 1 million out of its 3.5 million citizens emigrated since 1990. A survey conducted in the country regarding the effects of migration showed 77% of the participants say the children most affected are those left without parental care. Poorly managed social services, and no proper government assistance, parents are forced to leave their children in the search for a better job (and a better life) in other countries. Children are left to be raised by their grandparents, relatives or placed in orphanages. IF they are lucky? They will see their parents once or twice a year. And that will become their reality for many years ahead.
Moldova has 47 orphanages, hosting about 7,000 children. Only 2% of these children are truly orphans. The deteriorating conditions in these state-run institutions are an outcry. Orphanages are not conducive for a child’s upbringing and education. It’s a proven fact that the institutionalization has a negative impact on children. It affects children’s intellectual and physical development, as well as their social development. These kids end up not developing proper independent life skills, and as a result, they struggle throughout their entire life. Children raised in orphanages, not only miss out on a happy childhood. They also face challenges in their adult life.
Unfortunately, Moldova is not the only country that is dealing with similar issues and even the most developed countries & cities still have neighborhoods and communities that share the same problems and heartaches…The sad truth is that there are children struggling with harsh realities everywhere. And parents trying to make ends meet every single day.
What is Love is Kind?