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.
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.