Not really a children’s story - why Nastya lives without her parents

We were warned from the beginning: “This class is very difficult, get ready!” This is how it began when we met the new children from 7B. The composition of this group is diverse: “This is Vanya, he is adopted.” “This is Olesya – she is a beaten girl.” Literally! “This is Ilyas –not only does he consume illegal substances, but he also, probably, distributes them.”


“Although, today we would like to introduce you to Nastya, who is 13 years old and who lives with her grandparents. Nastya has a police and school record. We have reason to believe that despite her young age, the girl has already had sexual experiences. Probably, with more than one partner. Her father died because of drug addiction. Her mother is alive but has had her parental rights removed.”


Nastya added: “I was 9 months old, it was during the summer. My mother was drunk and took me for a walk dressed in winter clothes. I was naked. The police caught her. She got busted.” The girl was saying this absolutely calmly, without any emotions. Now the woman lives in the countryside. She takes drugs and alcohol with her flatmate.

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At first Nastya was aggressive and rude. She only came to the center half of the time. She would show off, only communicated with boys and tried to pretend to be like an adult. After one of the teachers caught Ilyas offering Nastya to take a dose of drugs, everything changed.


From then on, there was equal force, two teachers versus two children. We didn’t frighten them and tell them that drugs are bad. A certain dialogue took place naturally. The teachers expressed their concern about their health and future. We were speaking sincerely and on equal terms.


Nastya burst out in tears and told us how her dad died from heroin use. He was HIV-positive. She told us how her mother injects herself with something even though her younger brother and sister still live with her. She told us how much she loved and missed them! In the end, she thanked the teachers for having listened to her. She added that usually, adults would just scold her. That’s why, it was a surprise for her that the teachers would speak and listen with attention. They don’t judge, but give support.


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