There are places in Romania where children do not attend school because they have no shoes to wear. There are places where serving a hot meal is the argument that persuades parents to send their children to learn.
Lari is seven years old and the shortest child in his class at the Primary School no. 3 in Cărpinişu, Giurgiu County. At the beginning of the school year 2015-2016, he was included, alongside 53 other children, in the after school program “My School” at the Dutch House in the village. Here he quickly revealed himself as exuberant and energetic through frequent follies. What also impressed were his gorgeous eyes, full of thirst for knowledge.
He was immediately loved by the after school’s volunteers who patiently helped him to improve his reading and, line by line, make out the mysteries of writing. The first day of school, when he received the supplies for studying, Lari was so happy he looked like he would burst. He spent so much time browsing through the books of the small library improvised at the Dutch House that eventually they decided to give him a few home, so that he can be able to enjoy the colorful pages whenever he desires.
Lari has also visited Bucharest. On December 12th he met Santa Claus at the Radio Hall and watched, along with other 380 children from all over the country, a show specially prepared for them. There he received his Christmas presents, wrapped in a bag, bigger than him. He cried with happiness while struggling to carry the bag and nobody could persuade him to accept the help of a volunteer to lift the huge red bag.
At Christmas Eve, in an effort to help the little ones as much as possible, we found out where he lives. Outside the village, at the edge of the forest in a humble cottage with a stove outside. Here, Lari shares a single room with his mother, father, an older brother, a newborn baby, and both grandmothers. Lari panicked when he saw us entering the muddy yard. We realized how ridiculous the situation was, and put our cameras aside, engaging him in a little game. He relaxed when he saw the bags of new clothes and sweets. Santa Claus had never come to him, let alone twice in one year!
Lari will need further aid. Both parents are unemployed and the child will have a very difficult time without additional financial and educational support. We want Lari to continue to go to school. Although nothing is guaranteed, we at least hope that Lari and the other children receiving support through the “Special Fund for Children” will have better chances to find their way in life.