Towards the End of Glue-Sniffing in Moldava nad Bodvou

„A bottle of toluene could last the three of us for a day… I ate very little, I was skinny, my parents threw me out of the house…,“ so describes Rado Žiga from Moldava nad Bodvou what his life had been like before he met Irma. „She has saved my life. If it hasn´t been for her, I wouldn´t be alive today,“ he adds.

Irma Horváthová is the head of the community centre of ETP Slovakia in Moldava nad Bodvou. A twenty-nine-year-old Radoslav Žiga has been performing voluntary service in this community centre. He teaches children to dance and he plays with them. He enjoys going to work, the children like him and Irma praises him: “He has changed completely. I am so glad he is holding up so well and does not even consider glue-sniffing.”

When Irma started to rehearse drama with the young people in the settlement, she noticed Rado looking in through the window. After several times she had noticed him doing so, she went out and said: “If you stop sniffing glue, you can join us.” And it worked. His friends kept tempting him but he no longer joined in. The theatre became a more attractive prospect.

He has already had a chance to perform in the theatre, including dancing. He still enjoys rehearsing, creating the content, bringing new ideas and meeting his fellow actors. The group only meets when all the actors are at home as some of them commute to work. Sometimes, a long time has to pass until they all can see each other. Still, it is enough for Rado to have something to look forward to.

When he stopped huffing, he was allowed to move back home to live with his parents decently. I haven´t yet found a way to stand on my own feet and that´s why I´m not looking for someone to become my wife and have kids with.

A story similar to that of Rado is common to several boys living in Moldava settlement. One of those stories ended tragically. According to Irma, five to six years ago, there were about fifty glue-sniffers in the Budulovská settlement. Since the community centre has opened, their number has been decreasing.

“I didn´t have a job, I had nothing to do at home, so I was sniffing glue,” remembers Rado. Now, I have a job and a hobby as well.