Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Orphans in Hungary

By Nari Al-Atrash

Life is not fair. These words come to mind at the sight of so many orphaned children in the world, with more than 10,800 child orphans in state care in Hungary alone, according to a 2006 report by Dr. Judit Forrai. Orphans in Hungary are like any orphans in the world: no parents, no home, no money and no emotional care. What’s more, most of these orphans are from gipsy families, a largely disenfranchised ethnic group. Many of these orphans cannot be adopted because their real parents don’t give the institutions housing then the permission to offer them to other families.

At first sight, you might think that these children are having a good life in a good atmosphere, but there is much pain behind their lovely smiles and laughter.

First contact with orphans is really tough, but not because they are harsh or rude. Rather, they can give you real happiness by cheering you up without expecting any thing in return; the pain stems from the realization that there are so many of them just wanting to feel loved and that there is someone out there thinking of them .

An orphan might come to you and hold your hand to let you closer to them. In other words, they are really nice; most of them are hiding their pain behind their smiles. Szandi was one of those kind girls who allowed me to get closer to her, she needed a person to make her feel loved, beautiful and strong. "She is jealous of her roommate" said Katalin Nógádi, a staffer at the orphanage I visited, the Fővárosi Önkormányzat Általános Iskola És Diákotthon. They want to be the best and the only one in the lives of others, she added.

Getting to know about their lives is not difficult, people just have to be patient with them because they need a huge amount of energy and care. On the other hand, they give such affection back, multiplied many times. Orphans will typically take on their visitors as role models for behaviour, since they don’t have many good examples in reality other than movie stars. They watch people carefully and they might follow your attitudes if they take a liking to you .

Their living conditions

Orphans in Hungary live in houses supplied by the government. There are typically about 16 kids in one house, divided into two groups, supervised by two or three teachers. They go to schools to learn how to read and write but they don't get a diploma and most of them are not interested in studies. They often dream, however, to be rich and famous. They are addicted to movies and fairy stories, but only those with happy endings. When i attended a talent show, I realised that they are lacking in self confidence: the girls were almost naked, a pattern of dress for which they seemed much too and young. Then Katalin told me, "most of them become prostitutes to live in a better condition," while the boys often get involved with drugs and robbery.

Little kids are still so innocent, but you can see how sad their faces are when you play with them.
Most of them behave very gently with their visitors and they are also polite at the first sight. But as soon as they get to know you and feel your love they start to test you to see if you really love them or not by behaving bad or rude.

Orphans are worried about their futures since none of them has a diploma or skill. They are scared of the entire world because they feel that they are from the lowest level; orphans mostly are alone and when they get out of their institutions they might get misled to any number of wrong directions. There is a fear in them that says they can't be loved.

"Who would love me with my ugly face?" said Szandi.