Award Silver Level participant
My name is Ludo and I’m doing the Silver Award. This programme has made a major change in my life. Before I did not like to speak with people outside my residential care home because I thought that anybody who discovered my origins would have a negative impression about me.
I was born into a poor family from Brasov. When I was three years old, I was sent to a residential home called a placement centre, because my mother died and my father had alcohol problems.
All my childhood I have lived with the feeling that I am alone in the entire world. The other children from the placement centre were my family. We ate from the same dish under the same roof. We were treated like thieves and told that our future would be in prison or on the streets.
Finding my family
When I turned eighteen, I found out that I had two brothers and one sister and I was the little one. My sister told me that she cried very much when I was sent to the placement centre and she searched for me all these years without getting any results, even though we were in the same city.
After they told me all about our family, I realised that the only solution for my future was to give me away. If I had stayed at home, I would not get any education and I would not have been able to apply for any school.
Becoming more self-confident
While participating in my chosen Award activities, I started changing because I interacted with people around me, but this step was very difficult for me because I felt marginalised.
The major change took place mostly during the Adventurous Journey within a group of six people from different families; I was the only one coming from a placement centre. I started talking to each of them and I realised that we are not that different. One of the boys was very talented in telling jokes, which got me closer to him first. There were also three girls in our group and one of them had health issues. I sat next to her and when she started talking about her life I was surprised about how open she was towards me and how much faith she had in me.
If I had not been part of this programme, I probably would not have changed at all. After this journey I feel transformed, I am more self-confident and open to the people around me.
Leaving residential care
By the time I finish my post high school studies I will have to leave the placement centre because the government cannot support me any longer. So I will try to find a job, save some money and then share a single room apartment with a friend. Many people who grew up in a placement centre have made a better living by working hard abroad and saving so they could start a new life.
Now, I think that life will be much easier for me after I leave residential care, especially in finding a job, because I am more communicative and less shy and would therefore have more chances in a job interview.
I have a 21-year-old friend who lives with me in the placement centre. When I look at him, I see myself a while ago: closed and negative. If the Award had not entered into my life, I would never have known that there is a better me.