Matilda – Croatia
Matilda is a name of German origin meaning “strength”, “battle”. In the case with Matilda, we can surely say that „nomen est omen“. Matilda’s story is proof that the strength in the battle with the system was shown by a dedicated team of professionals working in the Centre Izvor, Selce, Croatia.
Matilda comes from a large family who, for a number of years, have been beneficiaries of various financial support and social services. In the last two decades, seven children were removed from Matilda’s family and placed in the institution. Matilda and her siblings spent almost a decade in institutional care while financial and living conditions in the family didn’t improve with household facing very adverse consequences.
It was a professional team of the Centre „Izvor“ Selce who decided that Matilda’s family needs professional intervention. They insisted on a systematic approach in order to address the unsuitable living conditions.
In 2014, the Centre Izvor team held a meeting with representatives of the government, social welfare and local authorities. The local authority of the city of Crikvenica took over the cost of renting an apartment for Matilda’s family. Two children who were in state institutional care at that moment were returned back to the family and professional support and help were given to family and children by the Centre Izvor. In 2018, the family relocated in city apartment equipped with the help of the Centre Izvor Selce and municipal authorities.
During ten years that Matilda spent in an institution, she continuously fought to be reunited with her family and to live freely and independently in the care of the community, not in the social care system.
Matilda finished medical school, won a prize within a project during the schooling and made the “case of Matilda” thanks to which the provisions of the Rulebook on scholarships for students according to social criteria have been changed.
During her school studies, she continuously worked in the summer holidays to earn money to continue education. After she finished school, she wanted to go to University to receive a degree of a preschool teacher. She didn’t make it in the first attempt, but she didn’t give up and has finally made it the following year. Unfortunately, she couldn’t use funds allocated for students from alternative care but she used her savings and continued to work in parallel to cover additional costs. In the second year of higher education, Matilda received a state scholarship, which made her a step closer to achieving her dream. At the time of writing, Matilda is still pursuing a university degree. Thanks to systematic support of the team Izvor Selce, Matilda and her family got the chance to go out of the care system, towards integration and social inclusion, living in the community in dignity and embracing equal opportunities.