'I was abandoned...'
When she was young, Maria's parents abandoned her, so that - like up to a third of Moldovans - they could go to work abroad. The aunt who took Maria in also later abandoned her to go abroad. It seemed that no-one cared at all about her.
Now she lives with an 84-year-old-grandmother, who is infirm and confused, in a dilapidated house which is unbearably hot in summer and freezing in winter. She has no money to spend on friends, clothes or parties. Because Maria couldn’t pay school fees, she was not able to finish her education, so she has no skills and no hope.
'I met an older man...'
Last year, Maria met an older man. The love-starved teenager thought this man cared for her, but he left her as soon as she became pregnant. Now she has a baby to care for somehow. Her only income – a monthly state allowance for the baby – is not enough to keep them, even for one week per month. She has to find more money.
These circumstances make Maria extremely vulnerable to the criminal gangs which coerce or kidnap Moldovan girls for the sex trade, either within Moldova or, increasingly, in Russia and the Ukraine, Turkey or the West. Many of the girls are shipped to Britain.
Often, they are lured by promises of a home and a good job – money for herself and the baby. Instead, the girls are betrayed, repeatedly raped and sold as slaves.
'Traffickers tried to take me...'
Maria has already narrowly escaped the traffickers twice. Her luck is running out. She has no-one who can protect her.
No-one cares about a girl like Maria. This Christmas she is penniless and friendless.
'...but Beginning of Life rescued me.'
Our friends at Beginning of Life do care about Maria, and the thousands of girls like her, in Moldova. They rescue girls from the brink of trafficking, and give them a support network and new skills to earn a living.
Slowly, hesitantly, because of her Beginning of Life friends, Maria can smile this Christmas – the first smile in a very long time. She now has a future to look forward to.
'Will you help Beginning of Life look after a girl like me?'
It costs just £75 per month to turn despair and fear into hope for the future
for a girl like Maria.
Many more girls are in need. Please help us to rescue them.
1) Online: Click the Donate Now button. Payment options include PayPal
2) Post: Cheques should be payable to 'WorldShare'. Please write 'BOL Moldova' and your name and address on the reverse of your cheque. Mail to 'Freepost WORLDSHARE' (no other text and no stamp needed on envelope if mailing within the UK).
3) Phone: Telephone donations via credit/debit card may be made Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.30pm on (01302) 775209 or 775245.
4) NEW By text: Text RESC11 4 to 70070 to give £4 to this project. Service provided by Just Giving. We receive 100% of the gift amount stated. Text charged at your standard network rate.
Thank you, and Happy New Year!