Wishing for a better future for children – by Phoebe Lee

Phoebe Lee
Phoebe Lee

I come from a lovely city – Hong Kong. Here we have many things. We have identity cards; we have nine years of free education; we have toys and even i-phones and i-pads nowadays; we have love from our parents. We are happy and fruitful in our city.  But there are others in a different part of the world who are living a totally different life, a life where it is very difficult to get a good education, or an education at all.

We have been given a chance to go to Romania to witness the support from IKEA Foundation for children’s education. We want to see, to feel how the programme changes children’s lives, and to share the experiences once we go back to Hong Kong. We hope we can raise the awareness so more people will pay attention to the Soft Toys for Education campaign in order to change more children’s lives.

Today is the fifth day of our Romanian trip, and we have arranged to visit the Centre for Emotional and Behavioural Education for Children (CEECC). This centre is supported by the IKEA Foundation, and the specialists who work there provide evaluation, early intervention, treatment, group therapy, direct intervention in the family, and education for parents and children at risk of developing emotional and behavioural disorders.

The entrance area
The entrance area of the CEECC
A grandmother is please to see her grandson enjoy coming to CEECC
A grandmother is pleased that her grandson enjoys coming to CEECC

The children we met here are suffering from one kind of problem or other, which makes their lives a bit more difficult than other children’s. CEECC provides them with professional treatments and help them to get their lives back on track.

Left: Cristina Tanase, the project manager from Save the Children Right: Diana Stanculeanu, the lovely psychologist from Save the Children
Left: Cristina Tanase, the project manager from Save the Children
Right: Diana Stanculeanu, the lovely psychologist from Save the Children

Diana is a warm and sincere psychologist. She has shown us so many impressive and powerful posters. Here is one of them:

Protect children from violence’s poster – Save the Children
Protect children from violence poster – Save the Children

What do you feel after seeing the poster? I was shocked.

Beating up children not only hurts their body, which may recover in a short period of time, but the emotional damage takes more time and is more difficult to heal. The visual impact of the poster is so straight-forward that you don’t need to read the text to get the message from the poster, do you? Save The Children hopes the poster could raise more awareness for more parents to act against violence. In the CEECC, we listened to many stories during the sharing session.

Case sharing from the physiologists in the CEECC
Case sharing from the psychologists in the CEECC

The first story is about a smart little boy who has behavioural problems and has done naughty things in school. If there is no immediate treatment, the boy will find it difficult to adapt to society. With the help of CEECC, he has stepped back to the right direction. He told us, “I have already forgotten what naughty things I have done because I haven’t done them for a long time!” You see, he is so lovely, right?  He loves his psychologist so much.

Another case is about a young mother and her cute one-year-old baby. When the mother was pregnant, the baby in her belly was all she cared about. She devoted 100% of her attention to the baby. But after the baby was born, she suffered from postnatal depression and was annoyed when her baby cried. The baby was so attached to the mother that he wanted to stay by her side all the time. The mother was so exhausted and she sought help from CEECC. She got much better after a few months and learned to live with the baby in a healthier way.

The cute baby boy and his mother that we met at the CEECC
A cute baby boy and his mother

The last case is about a boy who was bullied at school but was too afraid to tell anyone. One day he got sick, and his father took him to see the doctor. The doctor misdiagnosed him and gave him medicine that made him scream. Eventually the school referred the boy to CEECC, and the boy was correctly diagnosed and professional treatment was given to him. He has learned how to release the pressure, and he no longer needs to take any medicine anymore.

Emotional and behavioural problems could become very serious if no immediate professional treatments are given. However, those treatments are expensive and many families could not afford them.  With the support of the IKEA Foundation, CEECC has helped many families to solve their problems.

Time flies and it’s time to say goodbye, but I will always remember the touching moments in Romania…I remember the smiles that we have seen from the children in a kindergarten summer group. I remember the time that I showed the camera to one of the children. It was the first time he saw a camera but he is so clever, and knows how to work it. I remember his tears when he had to leave as we had bonded with each other already.

I remember the touching moment when the families received the first Polaroid that we took for them. I feel so sad about their living conditions. The house is simple with no water supply…

I admire their courage and their will to live. The children will have a better future with the education support from the IKEA Foundation.

Last but definitely not the least, I would like to thank Diana Stanculeanu and Cristina Tanase from Save the Children Romania, and Janet Lai and Kathy Cheung from IKEA Hong Kong. They arranged an unforgettable and meaningful trip for us, and I will never forget the things that I have experienced here.

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