Denisa (born 1.09.2005)

Denisa, Lala and Gaby’s sister, came to join us six months after her sisters. Her godfather had taken her to live with him and his wife after Denisa had been saved after falling into a well. (An older brother had died in a fire at their home.) The godfather was married to a Hungarian who spoke no Romanian, so they conversed in that language and Denisa was often left in the yard. She wasn’t sent to school so her life was very lonely.

A week after it was suggested that we should have her, her mother agreed to hand her over.

She was very happy to go to school and to learn, and is incredibly painstaking with her writing. Now she is less withdrawn, beginning to come out of herself. She is happy playing with Vlad who is nearest to her in age, and she likes drawing and is proud of ‘belonging’ to Betty in the English class.

Lala (born 26.04.2008) and Gabi (born 16.09.2009)

Lala and Gabi have been at Harja for almost two years. At home they were so neglected that neighbours reported their plight to the Department of Child Protection. Lala at the age of two seemed to have looked after Gabi, and the neighbours gave them clothes. When they first came to Harja they asked only for bread and water – but that soon changed!

They are lively children and play imaginatively with their dolls to whom they talk and sing – as they do to their carers. Gabi has decided prima donna tendencies and loves the limelight. Lala sometimes seems older than her few years, but that is not surprising after her early responsibilities. She concentrates well, and it is wonderful to see her copying the dance steps of the older children and getting the rhythm, her whole body dancing. They are happy at school and at Betty’s English class which she has in the village for the local children.

Alina (born 16.09.1992)

Alina came to Harja when she was three. When our then project manager was given permission to take her, she took her clothes and bundled her out of the orphanage as quick as she could before they could change their minds. In the orphanage she had sometimes been forgotten, always in a corner, often in pain from the frequent ear infections she had. Those infections have left her deaf, in spite of an operation she had in the UK, given by a generous surgeon.

Since passing her school exams, she has been invaluable at home, helping to look after little Lala and Gabi. She has spent two months in the UK looking after the young sons of our friend and supporter Reverend Martin Lane, and has found employment with the priest in Harja, who runs a daycare project for children of poor families and also an old people’s home.