Goran and Kristina are brother and sister who were placed into separate foster families. Kristina experienced physical and emotional abuse during her time in foster care. She then lived with family members with whom she had a very difficult relationship. When she was 20 she gave birth to a baby with a serious illness. Her son died in early 2016 and she started, in her own words, “to lose myself.” She was lost, with no hope or strength to go on with life.
Goran too spent many years in different foster families. He suffered through many bad experiences, has described himself as being constantly “in fear” during this period of his life, and even came close to committing suicide. In January 2016 he came into the House of Opportunity Varaždin, Croatia, and spent two years in the programme. He said, “I’m here to change my life and behaviour. I want to become more neat, more polite and patient, but also to learn anything that will help me become independent. This is my new beginning.” After two years Goran successfully graduated from the House of Opportunity Programme. Today Goran is free and says, “My hope is in God.” He lives alone and has a steady job.
In April 2016 Kristina entered the House of Opportunity, joining her brother, who had reached out to her. Together they were able to support one another and start to build new lives for themselves. After some time in the House Kristina started to smile, talk, learn and hope again. She gained new life skills and was helped to find part-time work. She said: “I never had a clean house or a person I could talk to, which I have here now. I’m happy that my mentors are helping me find a job as well as supporting me in acquiring work habits.”
Kristina successfully graduated from the House of Opportunity after one and a half years in the programme and started a new life. Her dream was always to have a “happy family” – and this dream is now coming true! Kristina met and married a man who understands her, respects her and loves her. Her husband is very proud of her, just as the team at Varaždin are.