08 Mar 2011

Left Behind – Brussels Conference: Alexandru Gulei

Biographical note:

He is a university graduate social worker with a master’s degree in probation and social reintegration. Currently he is also the programs coordinator at Alternative Sociale Association.

In the past 9 years he specialized in working with children and youth victims of various forms of abuse or neglect, designing and coordinating projects for providing direct social services, training professionals (social workers, psychologists, police officers, school counselors etc.), running information and sensitization campaigns in the counties alongside the Eastern Romanian Border of the European Union (the region known as Moldova). He coordinated projects in the field of education aiming to create resources and self- sustainable mechanisms for the reduction of vulnerability and the empowerment of youth through career guidance.

He participated in the USAID/World Learning workgroups for the improvement of the national standards on case management.

He is a trainer accredited by the National Council for the Professional Training of Adults with experience on topics such as career guidance, social work (child welfare and protection – prevention of child labour, child trafficking).

He is co-author of several books destined for professionals active for the welfare and empowerment of children and youth, including the “Working Methodology – social, psychological and juridical assistance of children left home alone as a result of parents’ going to work abroad” – the 2008 Winner of the Romanian Civil Society Gala Prize for Education and Research.

Abstract of presentation:

Freedom of positive and negative effects’

Following the December 1989 Romanian Revolution and the overthrowing of the Ceausescu’s restrictive communist regime the Romanians discovered the freedom of deciding how (and where) they could achieve their life goals. The opportunities for a better life were diverse, but migration became for many the most attractive. The Western Europe had jobs available and welcomed millions of Romanian workers – the benefits were significant, while the losses appeared to be … tolerable.

The negative effects of this new found freedom were harsher than anticipated – more vulnerable than ever before hundreds of thousands of children left at home found themselves facing a wide range of risks: depression, anxiety, isolation, marginalization, overburdening with roles/lack of abilities for coping with adult responsibilities, deterioration of school performance, absenteeism/school abandonment, conflicts with teachers and colleagues, (pre)delinquent behavior (including the consumption of drugs and alcohol), physical and emotional abuse, child labor, sexual exploitation, trafficking in children.

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