A Little About Moldova
Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, is a small country tucked between Romania and Ukraine. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova returned to being an independent country. The transition has not been an easy one. Moldova’s citizens are facing extreme poverty and one of their largest challenges is the absence of available jobs.
The effects of the lack of employment and low wages manifest in an unprecedented spike in migration, human trafficking, organized crime, a corruption-dominated society, and a generation of children unable to attend school. Faced with limited opportunities, many Moldovans are desperate to emigrate from Moldova to find a better life, and more than 25% of Moldova’s small population have already migrated from the country.
Both men and women who are steeped in poverty and facing despairing circumstances become vulnerable to being exploited because they are hopeful that they will find a more prosperous life elsewhere. Vulnerable young adults with no skills training for their future, and are often preyed upon by those who would take advantage of them.
Many Moldovan children also slip through the cracks of the educational system. Oftentimes there are no school buses to provide safe transportation for children and many have to walk for miles to go to school. Even if there is safe transportation, rural children are needed to work in the fields with their family to help provide food and other basic needs. These factors have created an environment where over 140,000 Moldovan children do not attend school.
Children’s HopeChest partners with Beginning of Life (BOL), a Moldova-based ministry, to bring hope and resources to vulnerable children in Moldova.
About an hour’s drive north of Chişinau, there is a band of villages where seven “rural centers” are based at churches in vulnerable communities. Several years ago, the government decided to close many of the schools in an effort to consolidate and save costs. However, the result was that means of transportation failed and children were left without options for high school education. Since then, these rural areas have experienced exceptionally high migration out of the area. There is a team from BoL working at these CarePoints to maintain a safe place for children to come for a hot lunch, educational support, positive social interaction and discipleship. As these young people receive this support and training, they will become the next generation leaders of this area.
BOL also operates Urban Centers that are safe places where children and young adults can come to gain access to training to lead independent, healthy lives. The wide variety of resources that are offered include vocational training, spiritual training and guidance, social programs, training educators on implementing a powerful character development curriculum used in the public schools, psycho-emotional-social programs for trafficked women (Chişinau location), and youth leadership programs.
How You Can Be Involved in Moldova
U.S. partners can be involved in Community-to-Community partnerships at the Urban Centers and in rural communities. Through partnering with a child, you are investing in them and their future by helping to fund their “seat” in HopeChest programs. In doing this, it will connect individuals in your community in real relationship with an individual child or young adult. The partner community can travel to visit the Urban Centers and rural communities and help raise funds to empower vulnerable children and be a catalyst for sustainable community development. For more information on how you or your church can be involved, contact us.