ROMANIA - By Violeta Roman- Cristina Haivas, a young woman of 28 is probably one of the kindest people working for World Vision Romania. She cannot be otherwise, since most of the time she is dealing with people going through difficult situations. She joined World Vision just over a year ago as a social worker for the Children of Romania project, working with teenage mothers from the Shelter for Mother and Child.
Cristina Haivas, a young woman, 28, is probably one of the kindest people working for World Vision Romania. She cannot be otherwise, since most of the time she is dealing with people going through difficult situations. She joined World Vision just over a year ago as a social worker for the Children of Romania project, working with teenage mothers from Shelter for Mother and Child.
Sometimes, I cannot even get to my office. Mothers wait for me on the door steps
“There is no typical working day for me,” says Cristina. “Everything can change from minute to minute. The number of mothers who apply for our services can increase every hour. However, the first thing I do when I come to the office is meet mothers and discuss their issues. Sometimes, I cannot even get to my office. Mothers wait for me on the door steps”, she shares.
World Vision’s Shelter for Mother and Child is currently looking after 10 mothers and their babies. Each of them has another story, problems and a unique case that needs to be dealt with with care. A person involved in such delicate situations has to be mature and posses a strong personality.
“My working day is never nine to five. I can’t just ‘put my pencil down’ at five and leave. There are so many situations and crises occurring all the time. And…I have a confession to make! Sometimes, I take my problems home. I think about them and I have great ideas just before going to bed,” explains Cristina.
Most of the mothers who come to the Shelter face difficult situations at home or within their personal relationships – partners who abandon them for getting pregnant or parents who refuse to receive them home because they feel ashamed. All these situations leave serious scars on mothers’ emotions. Cristina’s mission is to try to reunite the mothers with their families and help them to find jobs or suitable homes, so that their newborns can grow up in secure environments.
My biggest reward is when mothers come back to us and tell us how they feel and how their babies lives have changed due to our services
Asked about what she likes most about her job, Cristina answers: “I like to help people who are going through a crisis. I always compare a mother’s file when she comes into the centre with the exit evaluation. My biggest reward is when mothers come back to us after a while and tell us how they feel and how their babies lives have changed due to our services.
There was one particular underage mother whose parents totally refused to accept her home with the newborn baby. I was so happy when, after visiting and counseling the mother and her family, they all accepted each other and now they are more united than ever”.
There are also cases however, where the World Vision team does everything possible to solve a mother’s situation, but all efforts go in vain. “We had a case once where the mother kept lying to us and refused any help. We found her a job and she went to work, but never came back. She even abandoned her baby in the Shelter and we had to place the child into foster care. These situations make me so sad! But faith keeps me going” explains the social worker.
Cristina moves on and is willing to learn and get involved in as many social activities as possible: “It is so important for me to be able to learn all the time and be up to date with everything that goes on in social work. World Vision has given me so many opportunities to learn and develop, so I can provide quality services for those who need them,” expresses the young woman gratefully.
Photo: Violeta Roman
First published on September 10, 2004, 15:05. Last updated on September 10, 2004, 15:07.