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CHILDREN AT RISK: TRUE STORIES OF TRANSFORMATION & SUCCESS

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A Little Girl Who Never had a Doll

Of all the children supported by our foundation, the story of Claudia stands out as one of our greatest successes.

Ten years ago, Ovidiu and Viorica Filipescu began working in the Ferentari area, one of the poorest areas in Bucharest, with a large number of illiterate ethnic Romany children, with ages ranging from 9 to 14. Among these children there was a special girl, well-behaved, submissive, eager to study and to become someone. She wanted to have a profession and to be able to work, so that she would no longer be poor like her parents. The name of this ambitious girl was Claudia, and she came from a 5 member family. Her parents did not go to school and were not interested or able to send their children to school. As a result, Claudia had been in the street until age 12, without having any perspective or future.

At the age when girls already dream of becoming doctors or teachers, all Claudia wanted was to have a doll and to learn how to read and write, because she had never read a fairy tale. When Viorica put a pencil into her hand and Claudia wrote her first word, she was overjoyed. Starting from that moment her life changed; now it had meaning. Soon she also received her very first doll, along with other toys that she had always dreamed of.

Claudia became a beneficiary of Phillip House foundation, coordinated by Filipescu family. Here she was welcomed with love and understanding. With the help of the teachers on staff, Claudia learned how to read and write. She was able to graduate from the eighth grade, and then she went on to attend vocational courses. Due to Phillip House's collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and to the fact that Claudia was an over-aged pupil, she was able to complete both the 7th and the 8th grades during one school year, while attending vocational courses simultaneously.

However, the support provided by the foundation did not stop here. Viorica and Ovidiu encouraged Claudia to set up a family and helped her find a home. Lastly, she was hired by Phillip House to do administrative work starting in the fall of 2002. Claudia is almost 20 now, and she is aware that with the intervention of the Phillip House, she would never be where she is today.

«When I was a little girl I didn't even have the courage to dream that I would graduate from school and that I would ever have the possibility to work somewhere, but now I encourage all the girls living on the streets who are not attending school to follow my example.»

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(c) Phillip House Foundation, 06.2003
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