A beautiful smile – by Connie Law

This trip to Romania is my first visit to any Save the Children projects
funded by the IKEA Foundation. On the bright sunny morning of the
second day of our trip, we set off for the city of Targoviste at 8am,
and after 2 hours we arrived at Mihai Viteazul, one of the summer
kindergarten groups.

Connie Law
Connie Law

The IKEA Foundation started funding this meaningful project in Romania in 2012, and will fund it until June 2015. The summer kindergarten group is especially for children from very poor communities, mainly for Roma children who don’t have access to education and protection, and for children with mental health and from abusive families.

We were greeted by these happy children at Mihai Viteazul
We were greeted by these happy children at Mihai Viteazul
Little boy learning table manners
Little boy learning table manners

We visited a group of 20 children aged three to six. I met a three-year-old girl by the name of Dragos. Her face has many little wounds, and her eyes are not friendly as she wanted to protect herself. She was wearing an over-sized tee, a pair of boy’s shorts as well as a pair of worn-out slippers. She is the fourth child in the family, and her mother is going to give birth to the sixth one soon.

A young Roma pregnant mother
A young pregnant mother

She can’t speak and can hear only a little, so she was always silent when other children were dancing, singing and playing – until we started coloring, which she enjoyed very much and concentrated on it. I was accompanying her most of the time during the visit, and I especially loved the moment we were coloring on the grass because she loved it too.

Dragos, the girl who was a bit shy when we first met
Dragos, the girl who was a bit shy when we first met
And becoming happier once she started drawing
And becoming happier once she started drawing
Look! Dragos was the only one who completed the drawing
Look! Dragos was the only one who completed the drawing

In the beginning, she hesitated to change to another color crayon, and then she felt free to do it and I felt happy about this. Although she had not much facial expression, I felt she liked me and I was touched. Her finished drawing was beautiful! She also had a beautiful smile when I gave a new crayon to her.

I am proud and happy that I work for IKEA, a caring company that gives me a chance to participate in such meaningful projects.

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