Gabriela*, aged 12, from Floresti, Bulgaria
Gabriela lived with her grandmother when her mother disappeared and herfather was jailed. However, after her grandmother died she was placed in the Floresti institution, where she stayed for four years.
Her life was monotonous and loveless, with a strict regime and limited attention from her carers. Meagre meals left her constantly hungry. She had inadequate schooling and poor facilities for personal hygiene. The children were unstimulated, unresponsive and inactive, unable to trust in their carers and deprived of the critical adult engagement which helps children develop their individual identities. Gabriela desperately wanted to be part of a family and was consistently sad and angry. She was shy and struggled to make friends.
Lumos helped local professionals assess the Floresti children, including Gabriela. A foster parent was found for her, and gradually they built up their relationship until Gabriela was ready to leave the institution. Gabriela namedher ‘Granny.’
It took time for Gabriela to feel secure – she would ask: “You won’t give me away, will you?” – but eventually her confidence grew. Now, Gabriela has her own room and her own belongings, happily attends the local school and finds her school work challenging but rewarding. Her speech has become more fluent and her classmates chose her to be head of the class!
* Lumos always changes the names of children to provide the highest levelof child care and protection