“There is nobody at home”

A lonely girl looks forward to fun and friendship at summer camp

When 11-year-old Elvira finishes school, she walks down a muddy street towards her empty home.

The village in central Moldova where Elvira lives is far from the main road. About 900 people live here; half the population has migrated abroad, looking for a better life. 

Elvira walks into the desolate backyard where her house is. 

“There is nobody at home,” she says. Indoors, it is cold and lonely and there is a draught. Elvira’s mother is usually out looking for temporary jobs here and there to make ends meet. Elvira’s father abandoned the family when Elvira was little. 

“To make a penny, Elvira’s mother goes out into the village for work when she finds an opportunity. Sometimes she helps a neighbour, other times she digs the land for farmers, or works in the orchard when it’s the season,” says Lilia, a volunteer at the day centre that Elvira sometimes attends. 

A church in Elvira’s village runs the day centre in partnership with Mission Without Borders (MWB). It is an after school refuge where 35 vulnerable children benefit from homework assistance, Bible lessons and fun games and activities. 

Elvira said, “When I’m at the centre, we play, we do crafts, we learn about Jesus.” 

“There are even more children who would like to come to the day centre, but space and possibilities are limited so far,” said Sergiu, the MWB coordinator who works in this area. 

A little boy with ruddy cheeks, dressed in lots of warm layers, runs towards the centre. After scraping off his muddy boots at the door, he goes inside. 

In a small room, some of the children do homework, helped by a teacher, others are waiting for lunch, some are greeting their friends, and many are jumping and running about joyfully. Everyone feels safe and sheltered.

My hope is that she will build more friendships and find out more about Jesus.

For children like Elvira – never even leaving the village and seeing beyond it – the day centre is a place of warmth, community and fun. Here, they have the chance to take part in interesting activities, receive educational support – and enjoy their childhood. 

And beyond the day centre, this summer, MWB will take 1,000 children from Moldova on holiday to summer camps. Here, they will enjoy a whole week of activities ranging from swimming to crafts to sports, Bible lessons and life skill sessions.

Sergiu said, “This year, Elvira will go for the first time to the summer camp organised by MWB. My hope is that this experience will help her to grow in confidence and to become more open to exploring new things, and that she will build more friendships and find out more about Jesus.” 

As Elvira goes into her empty house in a half-abandoned village, our hope is that summer camp will be a life-changing experience for her – and that instead of loneliness, she will know the love and joy that God so richly gives.

3,490

children and teenagers will go to summer camp this year with MWB

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