From Orphan to Chef

A New Path for a Teen Orphan Through Vocational Training

For children who have grown up in an orphanage, turning 18 is a very scary moment. They need to leave the place they have called family. Unprepared for life outside of an institution and with limited life skills or prospects, a significant number end up on the streets, in prison or victims of sex trafficking. Insula Sperantelor, a Wide Horizons for Children vocational training program, provides a new path for Moldovan orphans aging out of institutional care. Through the program, these young adults are given practical, hands on training to prepare them to live independently and safely.

Those of us who came here without mothers are like kittens. In a big world, we couldn’t be cared for. This program gives us confidence in ourselves. You realize that you have the ability to succeed.

Andrei, Insula Sperantelor, Graduate and Sous Chef

Andrei was alone in the world. Orphaned with his only sibling, a brother in prison, he faced grim prospects. In 2016, Andrei was selected to participate in Insula Sperantelor where he received job training, living expenses and support from psychologists and social workers. He chose to focus on culinary skills believing it would help him support himself, “The program is not just an education; it makes you pick and commit to a tract.”

Vocational Training for 18-year-old orphans in Moldova | Wide Horizons For Children
When Andrei turned 18 and left his orphanage, his enrollment in Insula Sperantelor gave him the skills he needed to get a job as a sous chef and build a future.

Today, Andrei is a sous chef at Radisson Blu Hotel Casino. He notes, “My education is giving me a start in life. Without it, it would be impossible to know what to do. With my job, I am able to pay for my living expenses with my current job – my rent and our two cats! I can eat, sleep and buy new shoes. I have a fire in my soul to become a Michelin sous chef one day.”

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