It’s a story for a drama movie. Polish mafia bought a several-year-old boy, suffering from cerebral palsy, to earn money by begging on the streets of Warsaw.Now, after years in an education centre, Daniel Stanciu would like to live alone and become independent. TVN’s programme “UWAGA!” has presented Daniel’s story.
Daniel was born in Romania. His childhood was hell, and to say that he lived as a slave is no exaggeration.
Starved and beaten
After he was sold, he went to Warsaw, where – along with other beggar children – he lived in barracks. He spent days on the streets. Also in winter, in freezing temperatures.
Begging was the only thing he could do. Those who earned money on his misfortune, did not treat him like a human being. The boy ate with his hands, he could not speak Polish.
Only “Hail Mary, full of grace” – says Daniel Stanciu.
When his begging day was unsuccessful and he did not bring back enough money, he was not given food, and he was beaten with nettles.
I couldn’t walk well then. Only on toe tips – says Daniel, who, because of his disability, was called Olog, meaning lame.
Beginning of a normal life
One day the police stopped him and drove him to a child care facility. From there Daniel was sent to the educational centre in Maków Mazowiecki, where he spent the next 15 years of his life. It seemed that his life would finally turn around. But it did not happen.
Today, Daniel is already a grown man, and does not even have an identity card or passport. Not only does he have no identity documents, but in all that time he spent in the centre he never received any benefits. He graduates from high school in a month.
I would like to get an apartment and start working. Normally, like everyone. Make a life – says Daniel.
Not able to be independent
Every child from an orphanage would like to have a family, a home, it is quite natural. But fate is different for different people, and not all people can function independently. Daniel is one of those people who won’t make it on their own – says Anita Kurowska, director of the educational centre in Maków.
The centre caregivers try to convince the boy that after leaving the centre he should live in a social assistance facility. They argue that he cannot make it on his own in life.
He cannot critically assess reality. Foresee. He is uncritical in relation to his abilities – says Urszula Czerny, psychologist at the centre.
Ewa and Andrzej Kobylińscy, at whose farm Daniel usually spends vacations, holidays and weekends, see it completely differently. They have no doubt that – if he was only given a chance – Daniel could live like others, be independent and happy.
That’s all I ask for. Daniel does not want to go to a care home – says Ewa.
A family he needs
The farmers from a village near Maków met Daniel when they visited the centre with gifts for the children.
Immediately something in him captivated me. He was spontaneous, genuine. Then I thought about him a long time. Daniel has something, which is impossible not to like: honesty, openness. You immediately like him. He is a member of our family. We help him as we can – says Ewa Kobylińska.
Fearing that the centre director would not help him enter an independent life, Daniel spoke to a journalist of a local newspaper. When the article appeared, the boy was faced with a lot of hostility.
He called me and said that he heard from a teacher that he should be dismembered, put into a bag and send back to where he came from – says Ewa.
The whole Kobyliński family also became the object of attacks. “Let the old man buy you a coffin, b*tch. A ku*wa should have a nice funeral. We’ll deal with your Romanian at the centre” – this is just one of the messages, which were received by Ewa.
They threatened her with death – her husband, Andrzej Kobyliński, cannot control his emotions.
The police has already taken up the case of those threats.
Meanwhile, the management of the centre, rather than focus on solving the problem of their pupil, decided to take care of their image. At a meeting of the director with the reporter of TVN, the chairperson of the parents committee appeared uninvited.
I am here to express opposition and contempt for what Mrs Kobylińska does. This lady interferes in the affairs of the facility too much. And Daniel has become rude to the point that he does not say ‘good morning’ – said Alina Cieślak with feeling. All those who “slander” the centre she threatened with court.
We did not know that Daniel needs help – says in turn mayor Zbigniew Deptuła.
Only after TVN’s intervention, the director of the centre at last applied in the District Family Assistance Centre for Daniel to take part in the ‘becoming independent’ programme.
Daniel has also made a request to the mayor to grant him an apartment. Mr and Mrs Kobyliński assured the officials in writing that they would give the boy all the necessary assistance, if such be needed.
In 2012, Poland ratified the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which places great emphasis on the possibility of independent life of these people. The state is obliged to help them function independently – said Dr Dorota Pudzianowska from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.
Daniel has a girlfriend, with whom he plans to make a life.
When someone really knows what they want from life, they fight for it, they do not fall apart – says the boy.
Whenever he visits Ewa and Andrzej Kobyliński, he loves to deal with farm animals and help in the field. He would be happy, if that would be what his life looked like in the future.