On the road leading to "Casa Heidi" you could meet every day a girl too small for her age, with dishevelled hair, dirty clothes, who was always playing with a puppy. Depending on the mood, she would greet you with either a "Hello!" or a curse, prompting contradictory reactions.
As we found out later, the child has no father and her mother is hearing impaired and she also suffers from a congenital abnormality. Also, her big brother is semi-illiterate and he’s not involved in the girl's upbringing and education. The three live with the grandfather who is very ill for years.
What could be the future of this child?
On the recommendation of his teachers, a few years ago this child was enrolled in Day Care Center "Heidi House". Although she spent only a few days in kindergarten because of the large numar of absences she was forced to repeat the preparatory group, from the center has not missed a day unmotivated. In the first year, she found it difficult to integrate and adapt. Reacting to the negative attitude of children, she developed an aggressive defence system, both physically and verbally, manifesting a very low self-esteem.
Under the project "Development of social services for children at risk", she receives psychological support services and extracurricular activities. Also, she participated in the first trip of her life. She's very involved in all activities like a sponge trying to absorb all the information that is offered (on behaviour, health, culture, the arts, etc.). Although it was very difficult for her to be accepted by colleagues, she succeeded in developing relations of friendship. Now, she can communicate more easily, more positive, accept to lose and relate positively with others.
According to school teacher her results are good, she’s attentive in class, has a good ability to accumulate knowledge and motivation for learning. If she’s asked, the girl says she wants to become a teacher.
A., 13 years. At the first meeting with her in the day care center, I had the impression that she’s a child with special educational needs. Her face was inert, immobile, without a trace of smile. In the days that followed, I understood that it was just sad, tired and matured too early. Longing for her mother away and poverty had made it a monument of suffering.
Her mother is at work in southern Italy for several years now, working hard to send money to her five children left at home and husband. The two parents are working for many years to raise their two-room house in which they can live decently with their five children. A. is the only girl in a house full of boys and, as she says, already knows how to do everything.
Although he had no great academic results, because I wanted to work a lot and reward, we selected to participate in the largest camp organized by the Foundation in July 2015. That could see that the world is bigger and it's nice to travel and meet new people.
Since opening day center in June 2015 he attended daily to all programs of the center, has recovered much of loopholes, worked his ass off, and new team center, with her and our work started to pay off. Slowly A. is changing: she laughs, it's cheerful, optimistic, full of confidence, and dreams of becoming a veterinarian. We believe that the project will change her destiny, we believe.
P., 15, is a special needs child from the country, the first child of a large family. I learned about him in an unfortunate situation, when local press brought his case to public attention: it seemed that his behaviour at school forced the limits of patience of a teacher who applied him some physics correction. The teacher was known as dedicated, loved and respected in the community. From the whole story, the family did not win anything, not even compassion.
P.'s story gave us the impetus to create proximity support services for children with special needs and their families tested, especially to those with low family incomes.
Today, P. receives therapy services applied at YANA House, do physical therapy and occupational therapy, attend psychological counselling group sessions with other children. Participation in these activities helped him to be understood and accepted by others, even managed to work through some conflicts with some people in the entourage. His parents are offered parental counselling service to learn to live better as parents of a child with special needs.
There are days when we see how P.’s face is a smile, a particularly precious one.