When Zina first started at school at age six, she wasn’t ready.

She comes from a small, muddy village in Moldova where there is little employment and few amenities. Six out of every 15 children here are from socially vulnerable families, struggling with poverty as well as issues such as poor health and alcohol abuse. Zina and her family live in a house that is in poor condition – some of the windows are broken and others are missing altogether, the gap covered with plastic film. Indoors, the cracked walls are covered by torn wallpaper and ragged carpets, and instead of furniture, they once used rough planks of wood.

Zina was enrolled in Mission Without Borders’ Children-in-Crisis (child sponsorship) program, and now attends one of our After-School Care projects, for children from vulnerable families who need that extra help with their school work.

Zina found school difficult from the start – and began feeling anxious that she was falling behind. “When I didn't know the answer and I couldn't solve the problems in our assignments, I felt really bad,” she said. “I always had to stay behind after lessons. I cried because I wanted to do well. I wanted to catch up with everyone else.”

At After-School Care, the children receive a warm meal and afterwards, head to the lessons room, where our MWB workers & volunteers warmly greet them. The children set out their school homework, and our staff walks around checking that everyone is ok, and helping anyone who needs it.

“Zina didn't know how to hold a pen in her hand when she first went to school,” one of our workers – Valentina – reported. “She had hardly any clothes, and no shoes. She was very shy and reserved. She was very disoriented as her father had just died, and her mother and older brothers were abusing alcohol. Nobody had prepared her for school.”

Learn more about Child Sponsorship in Eastern Europe by clicking here.

Zina is now 12 and appreciates the time and space to focus on her homework. She said, “If I didn’t do the lessons here, I wouldn't do them at home. At home I feed the cow, the horse, and I take care of the goats.”

“Last year I coped well with the fourth grade exams. I still find maths and history hard, but that doesn't discourage me, I want to carry on. I like finding out new things so that when someone asks me, I can help them.”

Zina's ambition is clearly outlined in her personality now. Zina haven’t made her mind up on what she wants to be when she grows up, but she is full of new desires and new skills. She has lots of options now for the future.

Through the child sponsorship program, Zina’s family has also received clothing, shoes, firewood in winter, and furniture.

“Instead of furniture, all they had was some rough planks. They have been given mattresses, a wardrobe, and desk for Zina’s lessons,” said Sergiu, MWB staff member in the village they live in. “Zina isn’t missing school supplies and a schoolbag anymore.”

“Zina’s progress is noticeable,” said Cristina, one of the teachers at her school. “Now she’s always prepared for lessons and she has always the right school supplies with her.”

“Zina enjoys everything she receives at the centre, the warm meal, homework help, healthy values, love. She is never in a hurry to go home. She stays on the playground until all the children are gone and then she goes home, too,” Valentina said.

The future is in every child – and through our sponsorship program, MWB is supporting vulnerable children to stay in school, and develop their skills and talents to help ensure that that future is a bright one. 

Support our "Back-to-School" Campaign in Eastern Europe by clicking here.