In and around the city of Mukachevo, Transcarpathia in western Ukraine, the plight of many social orphans is more complex as there is a high proportion from Romani (Gypsy) families. Abandoned by their families to state care, and then rejected when they leave care as they are deemed tainted, no longer pure Roma, and then simply rejected by the rest of society because of their Roma background.
Brigitte was born into a Roma community in Ukraine. As a baby, she was sold for £4 to another woman in the gypsy settlement. As preparation for a life of prostitution, she was taught to dance, and groomed to serve men as a slave.
She was also shown how to steal from the market and how to break into apartments through small windows.
After a few years of this journey into oblivion, Brigitte was taken into care.
Her journey got a little better, but not by much. Sent to an orphanage, her prospects for a firm foundation for a stable and fulfilling life were poor.
But then, the journey became an altogether different experience.
She came to our partner New Beginning to live in our family foster home and to be taught how to live a loving, complete and independent life.
Companions on her journey were her foster parents and quite a number of foster sisters. They helped her overcome the trauma and distress of her early years – a little like helping her carry and then start emptying her rucksack of woes. More than this, she came face to face with Jesus in the love and compassion offered to her. She has now given her life to Christ and resides in his embrace.
In the summer of 2019 Brigitte asked to be taken to the Roma settlement to visit her blood sisters and her mother. Only a short drive, but the gulf is immense – the hope and love in her life is starkly absent in the eyes of those she met in the settlement.
Through her new found love and compassion she forgave her mother and reconciled with her, but sadly the risk to her wellbeing and safety is still too great for her to ever live with her birth mother. Brigitte continues to live with her new family at New Beginning.