From beach holiday to volunteering in an orphanage
A few years ago I was unsure what to do for Christmas. I decided that I would find a nice sunny location on a beach, I then Googled ‘orphanages in Europe’ and quickly went from a beach holiday to volunteering in a state-run orphanage in Moldova. The experience was truly life changing. I returned several more times and realised what a need for volunteers they had. It became apparent that there were no charities who were working with the institution to ensure that the emotional needs of children were being met. Whilst all the physical needs (food, clothing, carers) were being met, ultimately the health and wellbeing was affected by the lack of emotional support (no cuddles or personal one to one interaction). Additionally it was obvious that the institution needed financial support to buy basic needs, like medication and nappies.
Volunteering Moldova is born
I returned to the UK and decided to set up Volunteering Moldova, a charity offering volunteering experiences and financial support to the institution in Moldova. I wanted to have a charity with a difference, with the ethos that all donations go to the cause, not to running the charity. I was able to find two other people who were as passionate about making a change as I am and we are now trustees with the charity and between the trustees, we pay all running costs for the charity, to ensure that all donations do make a direct difference.
It seemed like a very easy idea, to set up a charity and become an overnight success with volunteers flooding in!
We are still in our first year and it most certainly hasn’t been easy and there has been no overnight success. Having said that, we have worked hard and have had successes! We have been able to liaise with an additional institution in Moldova and offer them support. We have registered with the Charity Commission. We have been able to find supporters and donators. We have been able to make a difference to the institutions that we support.
Ultimately I think we will always be a small charity and that’s fine with us, as long as we can continue to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable individuals living in state run institutions in Moldova.
To find out more about the fantastic work that the team at Volunteering Moldova does, click here.