7th October is World Day for Children in Care

I have invested a lot of energy in self-awareness for many years, but until today I could not  understand why I have been drawn to the world of children’s homes since I was a child, why I  feel I have something to do with this subject. I have a strong desire to alleviate the void that the  absence of loving and caring parents creates in a child. It’s a mystery to me how THEY are able  to grow up, survive everyday life, fight through pain, failures and rejoice in success without  someone who just “by birthright” loves, supports and cares for them. Someone to go home to in a warm home, someone to put some food in front of them and stroke their head, someone to cuddle up to when things get hard, someone to say ‘it’s OK, you’ll get it next time’. Who makes it their job to look after them and who is genuinely, wholeheartedly happy when they finally succeed. 

I’m lucky, I was born into a family, I was raised, I was loved by my parents, they gave me all  the help and support they could. Despite everything, I have to admit that my spirit gets twisted  from time to time in overwhelming situations. Sometimes it’s challenging to make a wise  decision, for example, or to cope with disappointment or failure – I feel overwhelmed by bad feelings, I feel I can’t meet the challenges I face. Moreover, I’m an adult now and my brain is  supposed to be ready to cope with my emotional upheavals. Children’s brains are not yet able to do this. When something bad happens they are simply overwhelmed by difficult feelings such as shame, failure, anger or pain and only the attention and love of a safe adult can really effectively help them to regain a state of equilibrium. What could be a greater deprivation in life than not having this? To not be held by a subtle but very real safety net as a child, in a time of growing up, of experimentation, of finding your way? That you have no one to turn to when you are afraid or upset? And yet, in Hungary alone, there are currently 23,000 of THEM who are denied one of the most important things – certainly the most important thing in terms of  mental health. A whole town of children. A lot of children. 

At the Academy of Experience, we feel it’s our mission to do something to reduce this deficit.  We’re motivated to help our children’s disadvantaged peers access the privileges of growing  up in a family and the sense of relevance, connection, and safe bonding that comes from  it – in addition to so much else that a family provides, of course. We have respect and  appreciation for the way those growing up in children’s homes, in their unchosen destiny, cope  with the challenges of growing up. It is our common interest and shared responsibility to ensure that children who start out in difficult circumstances grow into healthy adults and thrive in life. 

Kriszta Gyöngyösi 
Trainer and professional leader of the Academy of experience

BASE!Camp is one of our many projects with the aim of providing children and young people  living in extreme poverty and children’s homes with more personal attention, a reaffirming  smile and life-changing, supportive experiences.