Mugur Frăţilă – psychologist:
There are two dimensions of human life that we, Romanians, have not yet come to manage nicely: disability and age. We haven’t understood yet that the two do not define people, but existential stages. One, probable, and the other, certain. And I think that this misunderstanding has made us, as a society, indifferent to those who are just passing through these stages of life. As a CLR expert, I feel that I have the chance to pass on the message to all those in distress, “stored” in a wrong caregiving system, that I see them. We see them. They are no longer forgotten. They are no longer alone.
Dora Călian – lawyer:
Visits in the centers have confirmed that mental disability is practically an end to life, and it means that you are part of a world that you do not understand and that it is difficult for you to understand, which means total dependence on others. I believe that every one of us, regardless of the field of activity and the social level we are at, we have the task of helping those in need, no matter how. It’s an attitude that the good functioning of the world relies on. That is why I chose to be a CLR expert because I was given the opportunity to work as a lawyer in a genuine and noble style, to be a defender of the rights, freedoms and interests of people who no longer have control mechanisms over their own lives and whose happiness depends only on our attitude.
Daniel Rucăreanu – social sciences expert:
I made my first monitoring visits in the autumn of 2015. In their own way, all these moments marked me, but one of them is obsessing me, periodically coming back to my mind. It is a visit to a center in the town of Băbeni, Vâlcea County. The moment we entered the building was a sort of return in time, because the feeling of re-entering a life I left more than 20 years ago was physically resented. I was shocked by the smell, because residential institutions have an odor that you can never forget.
Then we went to the School for Inclusive Education (Helping School in old times) near the placement center, to be able to check the information we had and add new information. There we waited for the children from the center, who were coming for homework and therapy. They had various and serious affections. They were heavily sedated, like some kind of chemical children. A 14-year-old girl with serious retardation, who could barely speak, impressed me with the dexterity she was doing origami figurines with. The paper cuts were the words. I was watching the faces tired with loneliness and lack of affection. And then I understood that orphans are never children, but they never get to be adults either.
Roxana Marcoiu – psychologist:
Many years ago, from a personal story, I understood that this category of people, for whom – it might sound exaggerated but – almost no one is doing anything, is there, “preferably” somewhere closed, we give them food, they have a the mattress, we understand that they are people too, but it would be preferable not to bother us, the rest of society. It is inhuman to do nothing, once I have come to understand that any of us would end up in such a system, and even if we were healthy, within a few months only, we would get to look the same, emotionally numb as the people in this system. Because everything that surrounds you there, from space, to lack of activity, to major shortcomings on all levels, cannot take you in another direction. It’s a life mission. You hope and see that you sometimes manage to change things.
Bianca Rodina – lawyer:
I chose to work with the CLR team as a monitor to identify the legal and social impediments faced by people with disabilities and to help break the attitude barriers built in society towards them. In addition to the domestic and international normative acts governing the obligations of states in relation to persons with disabilities, I believe that there is, first and foremost, for each of us a moral obligation to accept and respect disability as a beautiful part of human diversity. In my visits, I was most impressed by the unconditional warmth and joy of the residents, who recited poems, sang and squeezed us in their arms.
Bianca Beu – volunteer:
I see the work of the CLR as a reminder to society that it must and can correct its shortcomings.
I have learned not to put the CARLESSNESS diagnosis on the poor work of the staff in the centers. I think their attitude is caused by a cumulus of causes: ignorance, helplessness, low salaries, annoying and perhaps even demoralizing environment etc. The second thing is that I would like the staff not to regard us as their enemies, but to realize that we are fighting side by side with them and that our work is adjacent both to the cry of help of the beneficiaries and to the feeling of helplessness of institutions.
Ştefania Dascălu – volunteer:
As far as I am concerned, the fight for the rights of people with disabilities has a special significance. It is the struggle of each of us with the thought that we could have been or would be in the place of these helpless people and the struggle with those around us who live in a false reality where people are not dehumanized and everybody has someone by their side. Lack of action from the fear of living beyond the comfort of one’s own perceptions only makes the system divide more, the system that we build on paper to make our lives easier. We live in a paradoxical environment where we want to be better and at the same time we do worsen things. The struggle for human rights is the struggle for the values we all talk about and we are committed to them in front of friends, family, employers, but unfortunately, we have very few of them.