A day in the village of the missing generation - Romania
In a remote village in Romania called Bodesti, the human landscape is not as you would expect it. Many adults, parents of young children, left the country to find jobs in wealthier countries such as Italy, Spain and Germany. Children are left with their grandparents or sometimes with neighbours. Grandparents and children live in the village and life is not always easy for them, nor it is for the parents abroad. I spent a month in Bodesti living with a family composed by the grandparents and their grandson, Vladut. He was eight years old when his mother had to move to Italy to find a job. One fourth of the population left the village to move abroad. A rural agricultural world is disappearing in Romania. Poverty and unemployment have forced over 3.4 million people to go away from the country. According to UNICEF, over 350 thousand children live in Romania without one or both of their parents. All this effects the children's mental health. Teenagers have often developed depression and mental health issues visible in their refusal to study, use of drugs, criminality and even suicide. Nature is beautiful there, wild and untouched but both the landscape and the people are wounded and permeate with a wistful melancholy. Vladut dreams of living in Bodesti for the rest of his life. The missing generation is missed a lot but it is not lost through war or sickness; rather it is a generation that has disappeared due to the state of a country crippled by unemployment.