BA in Social Work from University of Timisoara (Romania)
University of Brussels (Belgium)
When I hear Eastern Europe I think of beauty and depth in people
and their stories. Beautiful mountains and fields, of sufferance,
hope, walls, and of freedom. We didn’t know what
freedom feels like until we got a taste of it once communism fell.
Freedom to be who we are and say what we think, freedom to hear
and know, to buy, to own, to hope and to be happy. We didn’t realize
what communism has taken from us until we were free. But we
didn’t know how to be free! We could speak but didn’t know what
to say cause we didn’t know who we are.
My generation has made it through a shame based educational system full of criticism and negativism.
We awoke in a world not knowing who we are, without confidence of our abilities and qualities, and not
loving ourselves. The most common words we heard as kids from our parents and teachers were: ‘you
will never be able to do that’… while words like ‘I love you’, ‘I appreciate you’, ‘I am proud of you’
were very rarely, if ever, said.
How can we lead without good role models and healthy mentors? How can we love each other without
loving ourselves first? How can we believe we are unique, precious and important when we haven’t
really been told that? How can we overcome the curse of the communist legacy that is still present?
We still see it all around us, in our corrupt leaders, our society, dysfunctional families, and in ourselves.
We are still fighting communism! Still trying to figure out who we are as people and as a nation. I see
great value in many of my peers. They possess abilities and talents, but I also see the fear and
insecurity that stops them from doing great things. It seems we try to spread our wings and fly but we
are afraid of the height, the unknown, people around us, and ultimately of ourselves.
SOZO believes in my generation and the people of our nations. Experiencing this has brought me
healing and freedom to be who God created me to be. I see Eastern Europe as this big ‘island’ with
many hidden treasures that SOZO started to uncover among its people… among its youth. SOZO is not
just another event but an amazing tool that brings people together and empowers them. There is
something special and powerful about people from dozens of nations coming together with shared
purpose, nations that sometimes were in war with each other. There is healing in worshiping and being
trained together with those that we were taught to hate from an early age. There is hope that comes with
that, hope that we will make it after all, that our wounds will be healed and that God will make us
SOZO has helped me to overcome the curse of ‘never being able to do that’ because I have been loved
and appreciated… because the SOZO leadership believed and saw value in me. I believe in my
generation and in the people of our Easte