Beneath the grandeur of Caesceascu’s People’s Palace lies a darker side. This young boy is not one of Bucharest’s thieves attempting a robbery. He is a street child going to his home away from home. It is a bunker below a heating system, equipped with a washing line and black&white tv. Space is at a premium and foul-smelling water just a step away. Hope is non-existent.
No, I have no hopes at all. (Why) There are a lot of troubles in this country and they have a lot do before helping us.
Not so, says George Roman. His aim is to identify 500 of a 1000 children who could leave street life through a project funded by the International Labour Organisation. Today he finds 12-year old Mona who hit the streets when she was six, but who has been living in a centre for over a year. She still regularly comes to visit her brother Gelu who has not left his street life behind.
George interviewing Mona
When you were on the street, did your parents look for you?) Yes, they did, but I did not want to come back home. (Why not?) Because they forced me to steal. We were beaten sometimes when my father was angry.
To survive, kids either work part or full time on the streets, work ranging from begging or singing to washing car windows at intersections. The International Labour Organisation project first aims to reintegrate the kids back into their families. But sadly only one out of ten kids manages to return home.
Making the relationship with the family is a long process and they are on the streets because they had big problems with their family, they had big conflicts, that’s why they are here.
The aim of the project is to identify those children still young enough or new enough to want to leave the streets of Bucharest and enjoy what is left of their childhood.