When he was 10 years old, Gabriel Ciobotaru (37 years old) lost both of his parents, one after another. He was raised in an orphanage, and had not at easy life there, on the contrary. But all the difficulties made him stronger, he learnt a lot, worked, graduated a faculty and a masters program in social assistance, worked at Children’s Protection for 10 years and, and for 8 years already does incredible things for people in need. Through his Association, “Your chance”, homeless people get a hot meal, social assistance, medicines, children from poor families attend a Day Center where they eat lunch, do their homework, have different activities, thousands of poor children get gifts, go to camps, families in need are helped with many, many things. Everything, just because of love for others – unconditional, true love for those who don’t have too many chances in life.
Gabriel lost both of his parents when he was a child “at 10 years old, when you need them most”, first his father, who was an aviator and had collapsed with the plane, then his mother. He was raised in an orphanage – and it wasn’t easy at all. Memories are still there – beaten by older children, sweets that were a luxury, holidays when no one came. “There were many children who went to their families on holidays, and I was wondering – won’t be a family for me, also?”, he says.
“Your chance”, because of love for others
He had a huge ambition – graduated a faculty in social assistance, then a master program in the same field. For ten years, worked at Child’s Protection, in the state system, trying to do as much good as possible – and people had felt that every day.
In 2011, Gabriel started “Your chance”, a non-governmental association through which had received help, joy and a lot of love thousands of people in need. Supported by an American family, who also helped him while he was in orphanage, Gabriel started the project in 2011, all by himself. Then 2-3 young people joined him, and had worked a few years to build a system that brings joy today for a lot of people, both children and adults.
Projects to help people in need
Today, after 8 years, the Association had done very many good things for others, offered help, support, involvement and a lot of love. Once a week, 80 homeless people at Northern Railway Station in Bucharest get a hot meal, also social assistance and medicines when needed.
The Association also has a Day Center, where children from poor families or from orphanages get food, help for homework and take part in different educational activities. The center was opened because Helmut Schlotterer, a German man was impressed by their work and wanted to help, so he had bought a building, and then other good people, volunteers and sponsors, helped with arrangement. Today, 100 children from 3 to 16 years come here, and have this way chances they would’ve never had otherwise.
“Smile from the box” is another wonderful project, done by 8 years already, through which children bring in shoe boxes gifts for children in need from poor Romanian villages. “Over 10.000 children had joined this year, they prepare Christmas gifts with toys, clothes, sweets, sanitary hygienic materials”, Gabriel explains.
“Adopt a letter”, with 200 letters published on Facebook with things children in need would like to get is another program – people with big heart “adopt” them and offer what they are dreaming of. Through other projects, children are going to the camps for the first time in their lives, get school supplies and so many more – everything done from heart, with love, just from a wonderful wish to help others, to support the public good.
Many social cases, people in desperate situations, are also helped.
Companies and good people joined him – donors are from all social categories, from those who donate from their pension or a 5 years old little girl who had donated her birthday to big companies or restaurants.
The blessing of being able to help others
The boy from the orphanage, who was asking if someone will take him home for holidays, is today a wonderful source of inspiration for a lot of people, his work is a blessing for so many, his presence and his actions bring joy and light in people’s hearts. It’s not easy but it’s worth every single day.
“It’s a huge joy, a gift from God that fills a void, you are happy, fulfilled, you are not allowed to be ill, to get angry, you have to be optimistic all the time and give people trust. There are 300 children we are taking care of, children are important, you give them trust to go forward, it’s a life model, something new for them, because in poor families they have no chances to develop. The biggest joy is when you see people happy, when you see someone exceeding his limits, you remain speechless sometimes. We just have to be good every day”, Gabriel says.
If you want to support Your Chance’s projects you can donate in the following accounts:
In Romanian LEI RO64RNCB0591123278690001
In EURO RO37RNCB0591123278690002
In US dollars RO10RNCB0591123278690003
Through Pay Pal – to the e-mail address email@example.com
SWIFT: RNCB RO BU, CUI: 28901016
PHOTOS FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVE
Do you know a very special person? Someone who has followed his dream, built it piece by piece, with passion, energy and lot of soul? An usual, simple person who did something in life, who you can identify with, who can be, for others, a source of inspiration? Tell me about that person and let’s tell the others his/her beautiful story. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.