… of people

Country without parents

“The villages, whose houses have mainly weathered Eternit roofs from the Communist era, are missing the middle generation. They are predominantly filled with children and old people, who live of the produce of their gardens and fields, as in times gone by”, writes Klaus Brill in Süddeutsche Zeitung (2.9.2010). Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country, which was among the most affluent areas in the Communist empire, had a population of about four million. Today, the country is poor and about 600,000 to a million people have left. Official figures said as far back as 2004 that 25 percent of the workforce had turned their back on the country (UNICEF Report/Information Centre for Children’s Rights: The Impacts of Migration on Children in Moldova, 2008). Their hope against the decision to leave husband, wife, children or parents: they want to find work abroad, earn money and support their relatives back home. But this has definitely not come true for all, as reports in various media show (articles available in German ZEIT online 27.6.2007 / WochenZeitung (Austria) 7.6.2001: Where hand grenades are unwanted in cinemas – Moldova: Surviving in the poorest country of Europe / article is online not longer available / perhaps ask the author Paul Flückiger).

About 250,000 of 800,000 children grow up with just one parent or completely without mother and father. Financially, many may be better off that those children, whose parents stayed behind, albight without work. But: the consequences of being left to their own devices can only be guessed. Talking to the editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung, a 15-year old pupil explains: “I would give a lot, even the money, if only my mother was back” and a 13-year old says: “Money cannot replace what the love of mother and father means to our life.” Klaus Brill writes about the allegedly better life of the wealthier children: “It has been bought with tremendous mental stress, which not only affects the children. For the parents too, life abroad is difficult; the way there alone is full of obstacles.”