Telefonul Copilului 116 111 Moldova – run by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection – is a free child helpline that aims to protect children from any kind of abuse of their rights by providing psychological counselling, information about children’s rights, child protection consulting, guidance, and referrals to the institutions empowered to provide the necessary assistance. It is also home to some of the most dedicated and inspiring counsellors in the country. Tudureanu Gabriela, Bolun Andriana and Sîrbu Dina have dedicated their lives to helping children in need, and their stories are truly heartwarming.
“I love what I do, and this is the only place where I can devote myself fully,” Sîrbu Dina explains. She is a psychopedagogy graduate with a master’s degree in clinical psychology and has been a counsellor at Telefonul Copilului for nearly six years, while Bolun Andriana is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. She discovered her calling to be a child helpline counsellor when she joined Telefonul Copilului in 2016. Gabriela is alos clinical psychologist and the manager of Telefonul Copilului’s psychologist team, and it is her responsibility to ensure that children in Moldova have access to psychological counselling around the clock.
Every day is never the same for these inspiring counsellors, but their dedication to helping children never wavers. They believe that by being present in a child’s life and listening to them, they can make more of an impact than in hundreds of individual sessions. Their approach of offering words of encouragement, praise, and individualised and even friendly support has brought a smile back to the lips of many children and young people.
Gabriela expresses her enthusiasm for assisting children and young people who struggle with a variety of issues. She believes that every child deserves to be listened to and supported, and she works tirelessly to ensure that children in Moldova have access to the resources they need to flourish.
Children, young people, and parents frequently call Telefonul Copilului with a variety of concerns, including self-development, peer pressure, mental health issues, school-related issues, family problems, depression, suicidal ideation, neglect, abuse, and trafficking. Despite the exhaustion that can come from listening to the heartbreaking stories of children, these dedicated counsellors see children’s needs as their primary motivation for their work. “Being a counsellor is a rewarding and meaningful job that allows me to contribute to the well-being of others,” explains Andriana Bolun.
Working as child helpline counsellors is intense and demanding, requiring them to work day and night shifts, weekends, and holidays, especially since they also participate in the Ukraine Crisis Response Project of Child Helpline International, which is funded by UNICEF Europe and Central Asia.
These counsellors also faced numerous challenges, from dealing with the low number of calls from Ukrainian refugees to handling the heartbreaking cases of neglect and abuse. But despite these challenges, they remain committed to helping children and making a positive impact on their lives. Their stories are truly inspiring, and they serve as a reminder of the power of empathy and compassion. Telefonul Copilului not only provides assistance to Moldovan children but also supports children and young people affected by the war in Ukraine. They continue to spread the word about the services they offer to Ukrainian refugees in Moldova so that they can help more of them. This shows that Telefonul Copilului really wants to help all children in need, no matter where they come from.
These words are a testament to the dedication and passion of the counsellors at Telefonul Copilului, and they serve as an inspiration to us all.
Communications Officer – Ukrainian Crisis Response Team