Among the young people who have been through the Bronx People set-up or who still live there, we have met several. They explained what their stay has changed for them. Each of their testimonies is an invitation to hope that it is always possible to get through hard times and move forward in life despite difficulties.

Zana is a fulfilled young woman whose smile lights up her face. It was not always like this. She no longer lives at Bronx People but she has an imperishable memory of her time there. "It has helped me a lot, to say the least. It's a big family where the first thing you learn is to live together. It's here that I learned to love the idea of ​​having a big family.


Before that, my life was very complicated. I was struggling with depression. I started doing judo and at first, to be honest, I didn't think it would help me, especially my mental health. I was very shy but I have to admit that judo helped me overcome my depression."

Zana comes from a small village and was bullied at school there. "When I arrived at Bronx People, it was a shock. It was a new beginning for me. I thought I wouldn't be able to stay but little by little I began to like the atmosphere. I didn't like myself though, actually I disgusted myself.

Today my life is much more colourful. Daniel taught me how to face adversity. Thanks to him and the values ​​of judo I stopped taking medication, I lost weight, I gained self-confidence. I learned that you can put love into everything."

Cosmin, known as Coco, still lives in the 'House of Happiness' ( "This is my home. I've had many ups and downs but this is where I feel the best. When I was young, I was afraid of everything, I was isolated and without any real purpose in life. I didn't interact with anyone and I locked myself into video games. My childhood was very boring. In maths class, one of the other students was already attending Bronx People and that's how I ended up here. I love my family, don't get me wrong, but it is here that I feel useful. There are no complications, everything is natural and I must say that the changes that take place in young people are impressive.

Cosmin, known as Coco

Later, I left Bronx People for a while and I had problems with alcoholism and I lost part of my health. When I came back, I didn't feel any judgment, I was just welcomed back with open arms. Without Bronx People, honestly, I don't know where I would be."

Today Coco has become the handyman of the house. Driver, gardener, plumber, he helps Daniel with daily tasks and feels more useful than ever.

Katya is Daniel's biological daughter. The precision is important when you see how perfectly everyone is integrated within the life of Bronx People. Alexandru, her little brother, also lives in the house. "It wasn't easy at first. When mum and dad arrived with the idea of ​​opening the house it seemed a little strange to me. Suddenly our family became huge and I felt a little like I was taking a back seat but quickly I realised that it was an incredible chance to be able to share with many other children. Today I am perfectly happy with this different but exciting life."

Katya and Alexandru

Paula is fifteen years old and also lives within the Bronx People home. "I lived with my mother until I was 7 years old but then she had serious mental health problems. My father was never part of the landscape so I was placed in orphanages. At ten years old I started judo and I immediately liked it. That's how I met Daniel. At first it was a shock to arrive here. I wondered why I had to live here now. Immediately though, I understood that it was different. My life in other orphanages was horrible, harassment from other children was frequent; I was afraid. In comparison, here it was paradise. We feel like we are in a legitimate family.


Sometimes I think I don't like judo but I actually love it and I always come back to it. I've won a few medals and I feel like I've done something with my life already. Bronx People and judo have already profoundly changed my life; it's incredible."

Changing your life is never an easy thing. It can even be terribly difficult. Change is scary, each of the people we met at Bronx People shared this fear but each of them also testified to the monumental impact that the home had on them. Some are now out and flying on their own, others are fully invested in the functioning of the community, and more still have a lot to learn, but what is certain is that they are no longer afraid of change.

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