Social Security and Labour Ministry Report: at the beginning of 2012 there were 10.6 thousand. disadvantaged families, with 22.1 thousand children recorded in the Child Rights Protection Unit records.
Social Security and Labour Ministry datas: in 2011 2.3 thousand children lost parental care, 7 percent more than in 2010. 39 percent of children were referred to the care of foster families, and the remaining accommodate in children
In 2011 the child care homes were inhabited by 1.6 thousand. children, three-quarters of them got there from his family.At the end of 2011children foster homes had 4.1 thousand children. Only every tenth child was an orphan and other children lived in foster homes for a variety of problems in their families.
Five years ago, British researchers at the University of York have been entered into the child welfare index.
It showed that Lithuanian children in the EU live in the lowliest environment, feel the least safe and least-assess their own quality of life because of bad material situation, relationships with family and peers.
Three years ago, UNICEF published a study on child welfare and well-being survey, which among 29 countries, Lithuania ranked 28th. It was followed by only Malta, which UNICEF provided incomplete information.
What we are doing?
Our organization The Centre for Information and Support for Large Families is working with more as 500 large families, helping them in different ways to cope with different problems, to prevent/avoid social crisis, to create family environment, appropriate to children development, socialization, education.
How you can help?
You can help 2300 kids a year by renovating Community House for Families in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Your donation will expand poverty/loneliness/hopelessness-circle-cutting-off services for underprivileged families and enable 6-8 NGO's to operate together for this purpose.
We were touched by this story and want to do everything we can to help Loreta to believe in life and help her and other kids to have future. We want to activate/involve more community members, NGOs, officials into this process.
Your donation is very important for this process...
LORETA. HER LIFE STORY.
Born in 21/01/1976, in Joniskis region, Petru village. There was 14 children in the family, Loreta
was the 9-th. In 1978 mother was deprived from maternity rights. She gave birth to Loreta and left her the same day. Mom was drinking, didn’t take care of children, left them alone, sometimes without food for 3-4 days. Children were stealing, begging for bread and money from the neighbors. The house was a mess, there was no bedding or clothing. School-age children did not attend school. Neighbors sometimes gave a bucket of potatoes to eat. Mom
sometimes did not come home for weeks at a time. Mom drank in a closed room, kept kids away, children stood naked, frozen behind the door. 7 months old daughter, during a social workers inspection was lying naked in a cild-buggy on a nylon jacket. There was no food found at home, just some meat.
Loreta remembers her life from when she was about 4 years old, when she was in hospital. She remembers being in
Utena’s children's home when she was 5. She liked the forest, cows, horses, garden over there. Even when the handler forbided the children, they went to the barn to play with hay, was playing hide and seek, it was interesting. If they were caught - he withdraws them towing whilst holding on to ears. In Utena she was with sister Inga, who was born in 1974. Sister took good care of Loreta, brought candy and toys from her group. Loreta felt the caring. One day Loreta noticed that the sister was gone. She remembers toy boxes made from wood. When it was allowed – all children ran to play. Toys were taken by the fastest ones…
She lived at Telsiai children’s home, where she started to go to first grade, but did not finish it because of the rude behavior with teacher, then was transported to Klaipeda, where she enrolled in the first grade again. Since year 1987 she studied in Klaipeda and in 1993 she finished nine grades. While she was studying – state fully supported her, she lived in the school dormitory. She also remembers that during unknown period of time she was living in Gelgaudiškes children’s home.
When she was in 3rd grade, for some time she lived with her foster parents. Later, when she grew older, she visited them at Sakuciai, near Kintai – helped them on the farm, removed weeds, feeded livestock.
In 1993, being 15,5 years old, she had to leave the boarding school. Eight children left with her. It has been said that your parents are alive and it is not the Soviet times, nobody is going to support you anymore. It was June - children left school with summer clothes. Children themselves took the initiative to look for a job. Three of them, as youngest, job center placed into a fish processing plant for the summer season. Loreta got her first pay – 150Lt. It was a great joy. She bought a big piece of cooked sausage with bacon, caramel sweets KIS KIS and PINOCCIO, some oranges, pasta, quick making soups – all of which she dreamed for a long time. Remaining money were used for bus tickets to travel to/from work. When she started to eat sausage, she was attacked by a homeless dog who tried to take away the sausage. Managed to preserve the sausage, but the dog bitted her hand. Hand didn’t heal properly, later it turned out that the dog had rabies. She was treated by injecting 90 ampoules. Other children, her friends, were also checked – they were not infected.
During summer they lived in an empty seaside fortified bunker, left from the Second World War. It didn’t have a roof. Found some building materials in the forest, from whom they made the roof for the bunker. For a living they gathered coins in the city fountain, which were thrown in there by tourists. In the winter they slept wherever could - in stairwells, basements. Stole people’s clothes, hanged for drying, to get dressed.
At Saturdays and Sunday went to eat at the Orthodox church. There they were noticed by one faithful elderly man. He started to take care of them. He took care of them until they were 18-19 years old. He had a one-room apartment at about 20 sq. m. He gave the room for the 3 children and slept in the kitchen on the mattress himself. Two more homeless children joined them shortly. Noisy life, music, dance until the morning started. Police took the children “on the record”. " The Uncle” (Loreta called the good man that way) suffered a lot because of them, had trouble with police, paid fines, until he told them to decide how to proceed with their lives. Police started to patrol near the house during the night. From 8PM to 8AM they couldn’t leave the house, so they left until 8PM. They began to steal – mostly canned goods from the basement. One was caught, others stayed in the street, rob people. Then “Uncle” sanctioned and got a fine. Children, who was 16 years old then, decided to stop stealing because of the “Uncle’s” suffering. Everyone started to look for work. Loreta got a job as a street cleaner. From first 300LT salary, 200LT gave to “Uncle” as compensation of received fine.
When she was 18 years old, she got to jail for inflicting serious intentional body injury. She beat a friend that slept with her boyfriend and was sentenced to 6 years in Panevezys women prison. Did only 3.5 years - was released on parole. At that time she behaved very well. She lived in homeless hostel for about 4 months. Later she lived with
friends. Received benefits. Tried to find work through job center but no one wanted a prison pending mployee. Then
ended up on the street again because she didn’t want to live with friends who tried to force her in prostitution. But
eventually she was sold. She does not want to remember this time period and doesn’t tell anything about it. First son was born during that period. Loreta then was 24 years old. While in labor, she took shelter at a friend from the boarding school time. Her friend worked with clients. Loreta had a roof over her head, had food and looked after friend’s child. She never drank alcohol. Have tried once, when she was 15 years old, while living with her “Uncle”. Got poisoned, ended up in emergency room in hospital, have never tried again.
After giving birth, had nowhere to go to live, because her friends decided that the baby will be convenience. Another
friend took her, lived there for a few months (September to December). Latter with 4 month old baby, during winter
time, for about 2 weeks she lived in basements during the night, at day time – in the field, among the bushes. She
wrapped the child in black garbage bags and entrenched with snow that the child didn’t get cold. She got pneumonia herself. A woman at whose door she was knocking and asking for bread noticed that. She called the child protection
service. Loreta was rushed to the hospital and the child got to the foster home. After 4 months, when she returned from hospital, she went to visit her child. Officials refused to give back the child, because she had no place of residence, no health and income. Found old friends, developed a business plan - robed drunken sailors. Got some money, rented a 2 bedroom flat with a friend, took the son, who was already 9 months old, back from the foster
home. Got a half-time job in fish processing plant. She worked there for about a year, then quit, because her son was ill often. More specifically, she was sacked because they said that they need serious workers, not alingerer, who can't work all time. Her friend took care of them for a while. When her son was about 2.5 years old, friend went somewhere, went missing, nobody knows where she is even now..
Loreta couldn’t afford the flat on her own, so again she was looking for a place to live. Briefly stayed at another friend’s home. She lived there for about 1 year, paid for utilities, bought food. Later she found a small room in a dormitory. When the first son turned 4 years old, she had a boyfriend, father of the second son. She planned to have a stable, normal and happy life. However, she lived with her boyfriend only up to the seventh month of pregnancy, as he began to drink, not return to home. She left him. To make it easier to keep the room and during delivery time someone watched her son, invited another friend to live together. For a while everything went well, but then friend
started to drink alcohol, leave children alone and disappear for a few days. Today that friend is an alcoholic and 4 of her children grow in a foster home. It became impossible to live in the dormitory because an adjacent room was rented to very noisy drinking neighbors.
Loreta, with two her children, tried to live with former foster parents, but the woman had died from breast cancer, and the man wasted all her benefits for alcohol, started to beat her and expelled her from home. She walked about 40km with two small children from Kintai to Klaipeda without any money in the pocket. Loreta stayed in the forest, then turned to Women’s Crisis center and was accepted to live for 3 months. At that time she was already pregnant with her 3rd child.
Women's crisis center workers appealed to the search service and helped Loreta to find and meet up with her brothers and sisters (” TV program "In this world I am alone with destiny"). Loreta met with two sisters and a brother.
When she left the Crisis Center, she did not have a place to live, so she drove to her brothers and sisters. Briefly lived in Kaunas, Vilnius, Raseiniai, Mazeikiai, Papile, Radviliskis, Siauliai. Met her mother, could not bring herself to call her “mother”, thanked her for bringing her to life, not for killing her, asked why she let her to this world to struggle. Now she doesn’t communicate with brothers or sisters, because those who she loved - died, while others – who she doesn’t like, gets drunk and fights... She liked sister Regina the most, but she died of hepatitis C and lung cancer.
Loreta also inherited hepatitis C from mother. She regularly visits the doctor, stands in record, examines herself. It would be treated, but require more serious testing, which requires leaving children for longer time for someone. She has nowhere to leave them – has no relatives, doesn’t trust former friends and there is no governmental or municipal institutions that can harbor children for that short period. Approached children’s rights office with the issue - they can’t help. Of Loreta’s 4 children, three have hepatitis C. Loreta regularly visits doctors with children, but can’t test as often as it should be done, because one examination costs 50 LT, while Loreta haven’t money.
That’s how she traveled with her children around the country until one-time situation became very difficult. From continuous wanderings and poverty children became exhausted and sick, they were at the hospital for a long time. When she picked them up from hospital, they had no place to go. She had a backpack, bag with items and 3 children. She went to the municipality, sat down and said that she is not going anywhere. They called the security, which refused to throw her out because she was not doing anything illegal, she was just asking for help. Security guards even bought a cake for her children. That’s how Loreta first time in her life got a social housing - a small room in dormitory.
Latter Loreta received normal "social accomodation" and since March 2012 she is living with her children in warm and comfortable two rooms apartment, pays part of the utility bills, cares for children, knits them clothes (while studying at a boarding school, she gained tailor-knitter specialty), attends various training courses, events and participates in community activities.
Her life wasn’t and still isn’t "sweet as honey" - sick children, youngest daughter has a heart defect, there is
often lack of money even for basic needs, food, but Loreta is full of hope, optimism, warmth and inner strength. Many of us would be broken by such a life. Loreta survived and is going to do everything possible for her children future.