Behind The Absence
In the Republic of Moldova, the poorest country in Eastern Europe, over 100,000 children and adolescents are growing up without their parents. They are social orphans whose fathers and mothers have emigrated in search of a job that will enable them to survive, driven by the hope to ensure a better future for their families. Due to the direct and indirect consequences of mass migration, which according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) involves one fourth of Moldova’s working-age population, thousands of children too young to get by on their own being raised by their grandparents, who in turn have become too old for this job; and thousands of children with living parents, placed in ramshackle orphanages originally built in the last century to host orphans from the Second World War. The money sent home by emigrants, worth some $500 million per year, is now the driving force of internal consumption in Moldova, but the other side of the coin is deep rifts in the country’s social fabric.