Good friends build each other up

The two friends Alin and Madalin, got to know each other while they both worked as volunteers at an Adina market. The friendship they gained as young boys in Craiova has served them well during their time as students.

TEXT AND PHOTO: MAGNE REIGSTAD
“We would not have gotten as far as we have today if it wasn’t for the nudges and support given by the Adina Foundation,” Alin Ciuca and Madalin Gheorghe assert. Alin is studying medicine, and Madalin is studying IT. They are both confident that they will make a good living when they graduate. The two friends have been part of the Adina education programs, and have proven that helping people where they live works.

Madalin is loving his IT-classwork, and his goal is to become a skilled programmer. “I was a very curious boy, that always wanted to learn more,” Madalin says. He was encouraged to study mathematics, but his family lacked the funds to make this possible. The Adina Centre in Craiova stepped in and made a deal with Madalin to help him pursue his career goals. Thanks to Adina Madalin got to continue his education, and thanks to his own frugality he has now saved up enough money to buy himself a guitar.On weekends, Madalin travels home to see his mother and father.

We all need something that nurtures dreams. The guitar stimulates learning, and the music has developed into a hobby. I was an introverted person in my younger years, the now talkative Madalin says. He comes from a village located four miles outside Craiova.

His friend, Alin Ciuca, hardly got to know his biological parents. Alin lived in an orphanage until he turned three-years-old and was selected by a married couple that wanted to adopt him. The Romanian “paper mill” turned out to be a formidable opponent, and the couple’s attempts at a legal adoption moved along at a snail’s pace for years. When Alin turned 16, it looked like everything was finally going to get sorted out, and the legalities finalized. Unfortunately, the man Alin had come to think of as his father died, and the government refused the widow’s application to legally adopt the child that had been living with her as her son for the last 13 years.

After this, Alin faced several turbulent adolescent years, with a foster mom that was now in her mid-50s. Alin broke all contact with her, and was taken care of by the child welfare services until he turned 18. It was during his time with child services that he came into contact with the Adina Foundation.Gheorghe was volunteer when we organized DemocraTech and Erasmus + in Craiova.

“I was very far down, and depressed. Mom said I was too stupid to succeed when I started studying IT. I was so confused and didn’t feel like I knew up from down any more, I wanted to take my own life,” Alin, who is now successfully in his fifth year of studying medicine, says. Adina and Child services motivated Alin to study, and he made the change to medicine. In Romania, the educational system is structured so that you can take all your classes online for a cheaper price than attending classes on campus. By doing this Alin has been able to get an education despite his economical situation.

His friend Madalin was there for him though the crises and helped him sort out the goals and exams he needed to complete to make it through. Adina was there also to listen when I needed someone to talk to, Alin says. He has also gotten back in touch with his foster mother (62) and stepsister (42), that have supported him though all the crises.

In Romania, it has become a national challenge to keep young and educated people in the country, as a lot of the educated people that could serve to keep the country well-functioning and prosperous, leave to find better paid jobs in other countries. Madalin and Alin are set on staying in Romania, with maybe only a short period spent abroad to gather life experience.

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