“There was a time when everything was broken”

"There was a time when everything was broken..."

A single parent family battling poverty are blessed at Christmas

“There were many times when we had very little food. I would give the little we had to my children, telling them that I wasn’t hungry.”

Silvia Trifan's voice trembled as she spoke. The single mother, 36, has a job as a cleaner - but her wages are too low to provide her children with everything they need.

Her son Vasile, 14, has a mobility impairment that makes it impossible for him to go to school - the long bumpy roads are not suitable for a wheelchair - and he is taught the main subjects at home. 

"One day, I want to have a good job working in IT," he said. "I want to make lots of money and take good care of my mother and sister and see them happy - because they are the best!"

He and his 10-year-old sister Iuiana live with their mother in one small room, with an old, cracked door and a draughty window. Silvia has covered the door with a warm blanket to try and keep the room warm, and she has put blankets on the cold cement floor. She cooks food on the small fire stove, and this is also where water is heated for tea and for washing. 

Silvia said, "Our family motto is to move forward and do our best. There was a time when everything was broken - our family, our home, our health, our hopes, everything.

"I had two choices - to break down and give up, or to just keep moving no matter what. I chose the second option."

It is nearly Christmas - and while this is usually a difficult time for families living in poverty, the Trifan family are excited. The Mission Without Borders coordinator who supports them is bringing an Operation Christmas Love (OCL) parcel to their home, filled with food, goodies and literature about the true meaning of Christmas.

As they eagerly opened the box, Silvia quickly decided on the Christmas menu from what she found. The children happily opened a packet of biscuits and began to share them.

There were many times when we had very little food. I would give the little we had to my children, telling them I wasn't hungry.

"Let's eat two now, and save the rest for Christmas," Iuiana said to her brother.

Then she teased him, "Let's see if you remember your promise after five minutes - I know you love sweets!"

Operation Christmas Love takes the pressure off hard-working mothers like Silvia, and gives children like Vasile and Iuiana the chance to have a happy, carefree Christmas full of good food and joyful memories.

This year, we hope to deliver 42,000 OCL parcels across six countries in Eastern Europe to the people who need them the most. With your support, we can bring joy and peace to many families this Christmas.


42,000 vulnerable individuals and families are waiting to receive an Operation Christmas Love box this year

Give a box of Christmas love



92p in every £1 raised is spent directly on our work with children and families