What’s the problem?
For many years in Moldova, especially during Soviet times, children with autism were diagnosed as mentally retarded or given other diagnoses. Because of this, most autistic children missed the window of opportunity for early detection and intervention. Many children with special needs have been placed in institutions because of lack of adequate community support, insufficient finances or often neglect of parents. Moldova is the second poorest country in Europe, which makes providing high quality support a challenge. However, the status of people with learning difficulties or special needs is very low, with only 26% of the population thinking they should be allowed to live in the community. This attitude and approach has lasted for decades in Moldova.
How do we help?
Now the situation is slowly changing thanks to NGOs that are at the forefront of helping families with children with special needs. We work with a few of these local charities to help them provide therapy, support and a positive social network.
Dorintsa (The Wish)
This Centre for disabled and autistic children and young people, is based in a converted private house in Călărași, an hour from Chișinău, parents refused to send their child to a boarding school and managed to give him home education and later, higher education in the Netherlands. They remain passionate about helping young disabled people reach their potential. Up to 25 children and young adults come regularly to the Centre and take part in a personalised programme of therapy and eduation. St Gregory’s is helping to fund this direct support to children, helping them improve their communication, literacy and life skills, their physical stamina and coordination. Most importantly, the families become part of a supportive social group, where they can make friends and build confidence.
Copiii Ploii (Rain Kids)
This small Chișinău-based charity provides therapy for 20 children with special needs (diagnoses include Rett Syndrome, autism, Down syndrome. Asperger’s syndrome, and ADHD). The charity was set up by parents with disabled children, and has established a team of skilled therapists. The level of training provided by Moldovan universities is not high and finding professionals with up-to-date skills is difficult. St Gregory’s Foundation is investing in further training for Rain Kids’ staff, so that they can provide the highest quality of therapy enabling them to transform lives for the better.