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“Many things have changed since then,” said Aliona, 18, from Moldova. Born with severe physical challenges and confined to a wheelchair, Aliona didn’t find much acceptance as a child, nor did she accept herself.

At age 10 she was invited to a Youth for Christ Day Centre in Moldova. Working in partnership with local churches in Moldova, Youth for Christ is running 32 Day Centres for children at risk. The children attending often come from difficult family situations, or may be dealing with extreme poverty, abuse, or negligence. Many of the problems stem from the extremely high rate of unemployment in Moldova, alcoholism, parents leaving the country for work, and parental neglect. The goal of the Day Centre program is to provide young people with a safe place where they can get food, support, help with homework, love, and where they can hear about the God who loves them and won’t forsake them.

Aliona liked it and begin attending the Day Centres regularly. After four years she began volunteering herself, reaching out to other kids.

“Attending this Centre, my life changed a lot. Even now I can see changes in my life. I started to communicate, make new friends, I’ve come to realize what friendship and love really are. Many things have changed. I have begun doing things for others,” Aliona said. Now she helps children with crafts, plays with them and helps them with their homework. “We try to tell children God loves them just the way they are.”
That was something Aliona had to come to grips with herself. “I have asked myself many times why my fate is like this. I’ve come to realize that God wouldn’t let me go through something beyond my power. So, I know am able to get through, with His power. Now people accept me more than they used to. So, I thought I should love myself because God loves me just as I am.”

“These Day Centres really bring changes,” she said. “I think children accept themselves as they are. Knowing God loves them as they are, they start to love themselves.”

Aliona continues to volunteer and will begin schooling in Chisinau this fall to become an accountant. To watch a short video of her story, go to
My name is Carla. I am 17 years old. I first came to Youth for Christ a year ago, at the invitation of my camp leaders in Bolivia. Youth for Christ has helped me to realize that I am not alone in my life of faith. In this place and with these people I have been able to find a refuge from my routine. I have learned the importance of living by conviction and not by emotion. Youth for Christ has helped me to understand that the Christian life is a challenge and that I can only handle it with the strength that God gives me.
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