“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.”