Children react differently to the problems they have in the family. Some withdraw into themselves, others become overly expansive, and others become rebellious. Ilinca (12 years old) belongs to the latter category. Her mother abandoned her when she was less than one year old, and her father only calls her when he needs a nanny for his newborn baby from another marriage. Otherwise, the only one who offers her unconditional love and attention is the paternal grandmother. They have lived together since Ilinca was born. Ilinca’s trauma of abandonment manifested itself through rebellious behavior. Because of this, the girl was a pariah among her classmates, teachers constantly threatened her with corrections, and, as a result, she ended up repeating the 6th grade.

Once she started to participate in the activities of United Way’s educational program, Ilinca underwent a radical transformation. From the uncooperative, rude child who did not tolerate acts of authority, she became a student eager to learn, evolve and be helpful to those around her. This metamorphosis did not happen overnight, but with a lot of effort, empathy and gentleness provided by the pedagogues and specialists of the educational center.

The welcoming atmosphere made Ilinca feel safe and accepted at the center. The children around her motivated Ilinca to show her interest in learning. In order not to repeat the year again, she also came to the center during summer, recuperating her math, Romanian, English and Greek subjects that she studies at school. She also started reading more.

Her teachers at school immediately noticed the changes for the better. They say that they no longer have difficulties communicating with the girl and that once Ilinca started coming to the educational center, they discovered another child, more respectful, more communicative and more open to acquiring knowledge. Now Ilinca completes her tasks, has a homework schedule, tries to think ahead, and has a cleaning day at home when she helps her grandmother.

In addition, since coming to the center she discovered her passion for painting. She likes to make portraits, but also landscapes, and works on this with a volunteer who shows her painting techniques. When she is not doing her homework or painting, the student reads stories to the younger children or helps them with their homework, and for these gestures, the primary school children who come to the center love her very much.
Ilinca’s example is not singular. Through your generous donations, hundreds of children are getting new wings in education programs supported by United Way.