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AIDS in Romania: Simona's Story


October 2001

Simona lives in Bucharest, Romania. She is nine years old and HIV-positive. When Simona's mother found out about her illness five years ago, her first reaction was to tell everyone, looking for support.

"That's when I found out who really was my friend, and who wasn't," she said. "Quite a few people stopped visiting me and asked their children not to play with Simona anymore. Because of this, quarrels began in my family. My husband became more and more hostile and aggressive toward me and toward Simona with each trouble brought about by her diagnosis. He didn't understand how important it was for Simona to receive regular examinations by a doctor or why she needed proper treatment for her sickness."

When her mother tried to enroll Simona in school, the teacher warned her that when other parents found out about her illness she would be shunned by the other children.

"I am a woman who fights hardships, but now I felt overwhelmed."

Simona's mother looked for help and found a social worker from the Community Resource Center. The social worker helped her enroll Simona in another school and provided emotional, financial, and material support for the family. Simona's parents were able to receive counseling and ease the tension in the family. Her mother now attends parenting classes and support groups at the Center.

Simona's mother writes, "The Community Resource Center has helped me believe in myself and to feel that I am a good mother."

The Community Resource Center not only provides much needed resources and counseling, it provides a place where women can gain skills and self-confidence. It provides children with a place where they are accepted-- regardless of their health status or their ethnicity. At the Center parents and children find a place where they can grow and find the support they need to stay together and care for each other.

Prayer: Loving God, you have placed us in families upon this earth to provide us with the love, support, and nurture we need to be healthy, happy, and productive people. We pray for families in Romania and throughout the world who do not have the resources or skills to properly care for each other. Bless the work of the Community Resource Center in Bucharest, Romania, as they provide support for families in need. Help us to provide a nurturing environment in our own families and communities. Inspire us to work tirelessly to ensure that all children, parents, and grandparents have a loving, safe home. In Christ, we pray. Amen.

How to Participate in This Ministry

You can join in this ministry by giving to UMCOR Advance #368415, "Community Resource Center," Bucharest, Romania. UMCOR encourages you to give through your local United Methodist church. Checks written to UMCOR with the Advance number in the memo line may also be sent to: UMCOR, 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115. To make a credit card donation, call 800-554-8583. United Methodists' generous giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing, part of their ongoing contribution to mission around the world, supplements the cost of Advance gifts.