There are few job opportunities in Moldova. Families live in extreme poverty, and many parents have emigrated to find employment abroad, leaving their children behind. As a result, there is a disturbing number of social orphans in Moldova. Adding to this issue is the increased risk of human trafficking for parents.
Beginning of Life (BOL) is our partner in Moldova. One of their areas of involvement is support for single mothers. BOL’s Early Learning Centre empowers single mothers with tools to cultivate a safe environment for their children and helps prevent child abandonment. The Early Learning Centre targets single mothers because they are greatly impacted by the employment deficit—making them vulnerable to being trafficked—and they often lack the necessary support to raise their children well.
Katea, a young mother that attends the Early Learning Centre program shares about her experience:
“The Early Learning Centre (ELC) has positively impacted many aspects of mine and my daughter’s life. The classes for mothers are amazing; every topic and discussion has allowed me to learn more about my character and has helped me make positive changes in my life. My daughter has discovered so much of her creativity and talent. I never realize how talented she is. She learns valuable skills and manners daily. Classes aren’t always easy for her, but she enjoys learning and has grown through the challenges she has faced. At the ELC, we can relax and fellowship with the other mothers and their children. We feel valued here. My daughter and I have been helped in so many ways at the ELC. If only my mom knew about this; maybe I wouldn’t have had so many painful experiences. Honestly, I used to believe that it was too late to change or learn something better than I was used to. Now, I know I was wrong. There are so many things that I can learn, discover, and apply in my family’s daily life to help change it for good.”
Katea’s story is a living testimony of the impact of supporting single mothers through the BOL centre. It depicts the majority of vulnerable Moldovan families living in poverty, whose children are believed to be burdens. Katea was born into a poor family. Her father was an alcoholic who abused Katea and her mother.
At a very young age, Katea was married and eventually gave birth to 3 children. Katea and her family found themselves not having anywhere to live, and because of the lack of opportunity, they lived in her parent’s apartment for seven years. This made family life very difficult. Katea did not pursue higher education; instead, she attended a vocational school to be a seamstress. She immediately started work at a local factory in Chisinau, where she worked for 9 years.
Things became even more difficult for her when her husband refused to go to work. He preferred to spend time drinking with his friends. Her life had become a nightmare. Katea’s husband began asking her for money to spend on alcohol. When she refused, he began to abuse her physically. Katea did her best to save her marriage, but eventually, they divorced. Katea’s husband left the family and did not help her financially with their children—forcing her to survive and take care of them all on her own. All alone, Katea was very depressed and in despair.
A friend of Katea’s told her about Beginning of Life’s Early Learning Center—and she agreed to visit. Olga, the trainer and director at the center, shared, “We were thrilled to get to know Katea and learn more about her situation to understand how we could best support her. Katea adapted very quickly to the classes and the work process. She’s passionate and desires to learn and bring changes. She is very talented. She learned how to sew dolls and decorative items to sell at the Art Story shop and earn extra money for her family as well. She has made so many friends and has the emotional support of many mothers going through similar challenges”. It has been two years since Katea first attended ELC classes. Since then she has become very confident. Katea has also grown in her faith and is hopeful about building a better future for her and her children. Katea became an example for other mothers in the program. She often shares her thoughts and fears in the groups that encourage other women to overcome the challenges that they face in their lives.
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