Training for vulnerable women in Moldova


26 August 2009 Training for vulnerable women in Moldova In Europes poorest country, Moldova, it is often the women who are poorest of all particularly if they have been left holding the baby. Now World ORT has formally launched a training programme for single mothers and other vulnerable women to help them find a job, if they are unemployed, a better job, if they are stuck in low-paid employment, and so be able to provide for themselves and their dependents. A pilot programme demonstrated its effectiveness, paving the way for 45 new trainees to start next month. The 13-week course, based in the capital Kishinev, will see the women learn basic office management and language skills, as well as computer literacy and typing. And mentors will ensure that each woman learns how to present herself well, raise their self-confidence and master interview techniques. These graduates of World ORT’s training programme in Moldova can look forward to a brighter future. The programme will also help the women to prepare their CVs and understand how to communicate effectively with potential employers and colleagues. We deal predominantly with the education of children in Moldova but it is no less important to contribute to the economic development of the community, of which these women are among the most vulnerable members, said Vladimir Dribinskiy, the Head of World ORTs Coordination and Education & Technology Departments. World ORT has a long history of involvement in Moldovas Jewish community, which now numbers only about 23,000. A spin-off from this project is the prospect of reducing the number of people who depend on the communitys limited charitable coffers. We have enjoyed marvellous cooperation with the local community in setting up this programme, Mr Dribinskiy added. Were very happy that we have found a great team for this project. Sandwiched between the Ukraine and Russia, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe with a high percentage of single parent families. As unemployment soars and more of the population travel abroad to find work, many women are left behind to manage alone. Without the support of a comprehensive, well-funded welfare system, these women can be trapped into a vicious cycle of poverty even if they are fortunate enough to receive money from partners and relatives working overseas. Graduates of the pilot programme, which started in May, have praised it for the opportunities its training and support have opened up for them. Philologist Alina Shmurun, 31, was working as an advertising manager in a firm on the verge of bankruptcy. She saw the training programme, for which World ORT has partnered with World Jewish Relief, as a way of increasing her mobility in the labour market. This was the only way I could raise my skills because other courses cost a lot of money which I dont have, said Alina, who has a five-year-old daughter. For Alina, the most useful parts of the course were the psychological help and advice in preparing her CV. After completing the training she found work as a web page designer. I liked the course, she said. There was a free atmosphere and good teachers who gave us relevant and practical knowledge and skills in a sensitive way. I now feel more optimistic and have found a good job which brings me more money. And it has shown me that it is never too late to study. Fellow trainee Anna Guzun, 32, and her six-year-old daughter live with relatives in a tiny apartment. I dream of being independent and of renting our own apartment but I have not had a job for a year and dont even have the money to buy our own food let alone pay for a training course, Anna, who lost her job as an accountant, said. Without a job I dont live, I merely subsist from one moment to the next, she added. It is very difficult to live in Moldova and its becoming worse because of the economic crisis. Some days we dont even have proper meals. But the ORT programme has given her hope. The course was very interesting and useful, especially the computer literacy because its impossible now to find a job without such skills. I acquired more knowledge than I anticipated and my approach to life has become more optimistic. Now Im sure that my life will improve. This confidence that comes from being equipped for success is shared by Viktoria Potrymba, 25, who is raising a six-year-old daughter alone. I liked this course, the teachers were great very tactful and attentive, Viktoria said. I didnt have any professional qualifications until now because such courses are usually so expensive. But now I know how to use a computer, how to scan, print, use the Internet. This course has given me something more that just knowledge, it has given me self-confidence. Now I look to the future with optimism and feel that it is possible to escape from the most difficult situation. I am sure that what I have learned over these three months will help me. World Jewish Relief was very proud of this initiative, said the organisations Programmes Manager, Cassie Williams. ‘The Moldovan population has experienced intense isolation, trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty and hardship, she said. Although the worlds economic crisis has not yet hit Moldova as harshly as it has in neighbouring Ukraine, life in Moldova is already showing signs of becoming more and more difficult.’