Natalia Karbowska: Today one can see first years participants on TV, many of them work in governmental agencies, political parties, many created their own civil society organizations and stand actively for their position and change life of their communities for better. Definitely, they are already sucessful!

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Success Stories


All is For the Children


Organization: NGO “My generation”

Project leader: Christina Zhytar


The economic situation in Moldova demands pretty large number of people to earn money abroad. As the result children are left without parents’ care. Very often their relatives or even neighbors take care of their well-being. Due to lack of control from adults’ side these children miss school; develop harmful habits since they are not at home after school.

Christina Zhytar, volunteer of organization “My Generation” decided to solve existing challenge though organization of free time activities for 20 children aged 6-14 years old from neighboring villages of Gratiesh and Hulboaka by engaging into these activities 10 volunteers.  At the first stage of the project the training for 10 volunteers was organized and they received skills for working with children using non-formal education methods. During the second stage of project implementation various hand-made activities for children were organized on the weekly basis at the weekends. Children also played sports and outdoor activities. Children were also educated in the trainings devoted to the topics of children and Internet, children and law, healthy lifestyle, relations in the family, no violence over children.

Before project implementation children showed certain level of aggression in their behavior at school. During final stage of project implementation there was feedback from teachers that 5 participants of the workshop integrated into school life better. They even had special nickname for their group of five.

Children participated with passion in the workshops and they were very glad that they received care. Creative workshops made them feel like home and be open to surrounding people. During one workshop volunteers discovered one boy’s talent to drawing on the glass. Volunteers informed priest from local church about it and then this boy drew some pictures on the small piece of glass in the church. It was a motivating experience for both – for the boy and for the other children.

The project drew attention of the adults of the society who were not aware of the exiting problem before being engaged into project. Private shop “Odido” supported project by supplying food and drinks to children during excursion. Local authorities offered to use golf stadium for organizing sport activities for kids what helped to attract parent’s attention who were present at football matches in the territory of the stadium.

Organization benefited from the project also because the group of 10 volunteers with skills for non-formal education was created. Even though project coordinators as well as volunteers faced the problem with scheduling their work. As workshops took place at weekends there were cases when volunteers couldn’t come and there was no option for that than to change the date for the workshop. Organization leaders understood that they should invest their time to develop a very flexible volunteering team.

Project coordinator observed parents’ interest in the project and expresses hope that she would be able to implement new long-term project:

I see the new project called “Logo-Theke” which would become well-equipped place according to children needs where these children would be able to study, play, communicate, watch useful videos and read books after school in their free time.[1] 1

Project coordinator says that they faced problem with technical equipment – screens of the computers they have in their organization are very old and small what makes it impossible to work and to show any films to the children. 

Project coordinator says that it would be easier for her to work with kids if she herself knew about children’s psychology and behavior characteristics. She used her communication skills a lot to make atmosphere comfortable for children and united them over common activities. All the time project coordinator and volunteers put all their effort to avoid any possible conflicts between them as children are very active and sometimes showed their aggression.

Volunteering is the Way to Changing Society


Organization: NGO “Lotos”

Project leader: Anna Bogachuk


In city of Rezin there is a very low per cent of volunteers. Being engaged into volunteering activities is not popular among young generation.

That’s why organization “Lotos” decided to organize educational activities for young people aged 16 till 21 years old of the city of Rezin in order to inform them about the notion of volunteering. Non-formal education methods were used during the workshop about volunteers, volunteering and youth involvement in the social change. Future volunteers were informed about their rights, their obligations as volunteers. They also discussed role of volunteering in society development as anoptionto become useful in the society through being involved in the volunteering.

Before a project idea was implemented into life volunteering seems to be useless activity. In a very short period of time the notion of volunteering became visible in the society due to some publications in mass media. Project was actively supported by the non-governmental organization “Youth Club of the City of Rezin” who assisted in educating volunteers. Mayor of the city of Rezin visited project events which attracted attention of profound number of citizens. In cooperation with the City Council of Rezin peculiar volunteer authorization cards will be issued. It will be the first step to implement the Law of Volunteering.

All project participants with great pleasure joined volunteering several projects: 1. “Together we’ll make good actions” in cooperation with cadets from the US; 2. “Volunteering in the Cultural Sphere” where they together with Peace Corps Volunteer brought some books into the library; 3. “Older Friend” in cooperation local state kindergarten where they made performance for children ;4. “Four Generations Meeting” where they spread leaflets about volunteering; 5. “Health is our wealth” during round table and other events volunteers also spread leaflets about healthy lifestyle; 6. International festival “Hora Mare” volunteers took care of invited guests. Participation and volunteering together united those young people and as a long term result they still do volunteering, cooperate together in order to organize interesting workshops for themselves.

Young people expressed opinion that they were happy to get involved in volunteering since they feel needed. They told that they are eager to help, but they don’t clearly see the area of work suitable for them.. From the other side citizens couldn’t grasp the thought that somebody does some work for free.[2]

Project implementation went smooth at all stages. But as there were participants with different level of experience in volunteering at the beginning project coordinators had to divide participants into two groups– as there were those with and without volunteering experience.

Some participants discussed their previous experience of being engaged in the volunteering as they have already these skills. So these participants deepened their understanding of volunteering. Some participants were totally new to this topic so they got “volunteering basics”.[3]

Issue that raised discussion in the final stage of project was the hope of volunteers to participate in free of charge excursion over city which was promised by the city mayor as a reward for their involvement. But for some reason the city mayor couldn’t finance this trip. That’s why project team had to have a conversation with volunteers and they found common decision.

We Know What is What


Organization: NGO “Women’s Club Holubka”

Project leader: Alesia Popova


Passive lifestyle of young generation is the reason for concern for the future of the society. Young and teenage girls prefer spending time in bars, cafes, discos and walking without aim in the streets of the city. Findings of the Youth Index presented by the National Youth Council of Moldova on 18-th of August, 2015 show terrifying statistics – based on the statistics of 2014, young people had committed 400 hundred crimes in comparison to 100 crimes committed by adults. As for alcohol abuse based on data received in 2013 by World Health Organization, it proved that alcohol consuming volumes of young people are the same as for adults. 1Through implementing the project organization “Women’s Club Holubka” aimed to demonstrate for 30 young girls an alternative ways to spend free time with bringing useful results into surrounding environment. All participants were selected among students of lyceum Matei Basarab based on their desire and initiative. During the project total decoupage workshops engaged girls around 25 hours, total time for beads embroidery techniques took 7 hours.3Young girls joined with passion workshops and enjoyed working with beads, design with decoupage technique. During these workshops participants communicated between each other, were united over the common task, so they learnt the feeling of being involved and important. Then within project “Hand Made Fair” was organized where the girls sold some part of their hand made products. Mainly handmade souvenirs were bought by parents, their friends and also by some people who got to know about the project from television. For the money earned three benches in the school yard were installed. After final target was reached the project still continued its life:


Now since the project had been finished the girls buy handmade materials themselves, and they continue to be engaged in handmade activities. They change the design of their homes even brining changes into around 30 families from which they come from. Through handmade girls learn to love and to create beautiful environment around them..[4]

Before launching the project organizers observed low interest of girls to any social activities. When informative campaign about the project was launched great number of girls enrolled for the course – since there was a limited number some participants enrolled them “for the future”. That showed their need of young women to be active, to show initiative and to put their skills and effort to get things changed in the surrounding society.

We observed the desire of girls to be involved in something besides studies. Girls’ would like to be useful for the society, but it seems they don’t have an attractive option for self engagement. [5]

The planned quantities of benches to be produced as project result were exceeded since three benches were bought instead of two. This happened due to high passion to the activities with which girls produced more handmade products. [6]

Project coordinator was also very much impressed by good cooperation with Lyceum Committee which assisted very much in informative campaign about the project.

It was not easy to implement the project in the summer period. First of all project events started in the early summer season when everybody is engaged in examples preparation. The second thing that was hard is that summer mood is completely different to the mood necessary for handmade. That’s why project coordinator had to delay production and purchase of benches which was made in autumn not in summer, since they hadn’t finished the things they wanted to sell.

It was challenging was to organize working space and time in order to save project schedule. For example embroidering was possible at home while decoupage should have been made in the presence of the trainer.



Students Today, Business Women Tomorrow


Organization: NGO “Dalida”

Project leaders: Nicoleta Gonca and Daniela Moisei


Inclusion of young people, particularly women into society development sounds challenging now for Moldova. Information about volunteering doesn’t seem to look attractive for the young people. Instead of involvement in the social life young people are addicted to social networks; their individualities are somehow lost in all information flow. Young women don’t understand that they should start working on brining changes into their society in professional and social sector. Society development seems to be at decay, at some critical point where its growth slowed down drastically. Nicoleta Gonca, one of project coordinators says that many young women being not self-confident refuse to give life to their ideas, not trying to search for the right environment to make their ideas implementation possible.

“The fact that we’re project coordinators and we are still young students helps us “to make magic” – we understand the young girls’ needs and we give answers to the questions they have. At the same time we motivate them by our own example. We’re not “higher” than they are, we are the same and we make changes for our society”. [7]

Being a participant of NGO “Dalida” Nicoleta Gonca and Daniela Moisei decided to activate young women participation in the society development through teaching them and developing their entrepreneurship skills. Project coordinators consider that women entrepreneurship is one of the ways to bring changes into the surrounding world. The organization united a group of motivated to entrepreneurship young women aged 19-25 years old from 4 universities of Moldova. The project included two directions of training – professional skills training and personal skills training. The girls received professional skills at the trainings devoted to economy science, private business theory, fundraising, management and marketing. The girls developed their personal skills necessary for private business during the discussions devoted to personal leadership, networking, time management, public speaking.  So the project had complex approach which gave professional knowledge and developed personal women leadership among participants.2 The popularity of the project proved by the quantity of likes and visit statistics of the page of the project in the social network Facebook.

Project coordinators managed to attract experienced speakers who shared their knowledge through non-formal education tools. Project coordinators invited as well successful women as the motivational speakers (Nadia Vamesh – successful designer and Veronica Arpintin who works in the World Bank). That changed the young women vision on the possibilities that women have – they started to believe in themselves and their ideas. [8]

We observed that many young women don’t think they can reach what they dream about. They don’t see the resources they have. Motivation by example is what makes them move on.

The ideas expressed during trainings and participation in discussions helped young women to work on their beliefs that served as psychological or financial barriers on the way to implementing private business ideas.

In a pretty short time after launching the project young women of the Economics Academy of Moldova became more motivated to participate and get involved in the society life what was proved by 20 new requests to become project participants in the future.

Six participants after graduating the project applied for a grant to ODIMM (Organization for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises) and three of them received financial support in the amount of thirty thousand Lei for development of the private business ideas. One girl started business of growing berries, the second girls invested money into meat business, and the third girl invested money into frozen fruit and flour sales. Project coordinator Nicoleta Gonca applied for the grant to renovate water cleaning system in her village.

We believe that it’s a very good project result. As we not made girls move towards their dreams, we broke stereotype that somebody should help them. They showed great initiative.

In general project implementation ran smooth even though at the first stages project coordinators felt pressure with setting priorities and planning. The speakers invited had very tight schedules and the project coordinators all the time were not sure if the speakers would come in the agreed date and time. All project workshops took place as it was planned.

The second part of the project which presupposes registration of non-governmental organization is still in the process due to changed made in Moldavian legislation.


Free Time Means Useful Pleasure


Organization: NGO “Consiliul Judetean de Tineret Tighina

Project leader: Natalia Sheremet


In the village of Tighin there exists problem of low social activity among youth. This is the root problem which results even in high rates of crime, alcohol or even drug abuse among youth. Statistics says that out of 100% of young people only 20% are active participants in the society life. 1Natalia Sherement being a volunteer in the organization “Consiliul Judetean de Tineret Tighina” initiated the project for involvement of 100 young people and organizing 66 youth meetings for them concentrated on creative free time activities for youth. The project included theme trainings on time-management, communication skills, sexual education, domestic violence issues which enlarged general knowledge of participants necessary for integration into society and safe life within it. The second part of the project included creative workshops on working with sand and glass, social theater and theme photo club for youth. Participation in the second part of the project increased “initiative” – the skill necessary for active participation in social life.

Youth actively joined the project as it’s’ activities raised the interest among young people. The project seemed to be the response for young people’s needs to be involved into the life of society.[9]

In comparison to the situation before project implementation in a very short time one could observe active attention from the parents’ side who supported the project idea since it gives the solution to such problems as alcohol or drug abuse among youth.

The project helped local authorities to notice the need for young people free time activities. Teacher of dancing who joined Natalia’s project on volunteer basis taught these young children to dance, so that they won several competitions all over Moldova. Seeing that fact and the desire of young people to continue taking classes local city authorities employed this teacher in the House of Culture where these young people and many others continue to learn dancing.

Project trainings about healthy life style conducted with non-formal education principles changed the way of thinking not only of young people, but their parents as well. One young girl told to her father who used to smoke that during the trainings she was told that smoking is a bad habit. Father feeling ashamed decided to drop off this harmful habit in order to serve as an example for his daughter.

Young people coming back home were all emotions. They shared their impressions with parents; having shining eyes and being passionate about things they learnt. Young people made parents understand that they lack their attention, care and communication with wise adults.[10]  

Children were fascinated by acting out roles in the performance which later on they presented to their parents. Social theater classes raised young people’s communication skills, public speaking skills. Participants learnt a new way to attract people’s attention to the existing problems in non-formal style. They also learnt that one can react to the needs of the society by acting it out on the stage, not only by conflicting or complaining.

Preparation of the project in the part of social theater became very attractive part of the project for Natalia as well. She devoted much time and energy to it, but she felt she lacked books and information from the library she addressed for finding additional information. Natalia faced the spirit of competitiveness with organizations she had partnership before. These organizations were showed their dissatisfaction because a great number of their youth participated in Natalia’s project which raised their interest.

It’s very important to get united when you work on the same problem. But from our cooperation we saw that there is a lack of “win-win” attitude towards cooperation what made the project a bit difficult in communication.2

The First Step – Making It Together.


Organization: NGO “Association of Psychologists of Tighin”

Project leader: Ruxanda Afteni


Young girls involvement into social life is rather low. Young girls don’t consider social initiative, volunteering as an attractive free time activity. Civic life participation is not promoted and is not popular among young girls and among youth in general. This is the reason why statistics say that alcohol, drugs abuse are typical after school activities for youth.

Being concerned with this problem Afteni Ruxanda who is a volunteer of non-governmental organization “Association of Psychologists of Tighin” started her project devoted  to strengthening civic participation skills for 30 girls aged 14-17 years old and live in city of Tighin”. Girls were from 4 different lyceums and on this basis they were divided into 4 groups who took part in trainings with 2 certified trainers at weekends during two months. Young girls through interactive games and non-formal education methods got practical skills to be efficient in communication learnt how to apply women’s leadership skills, they learnt to define society needs. After “educational part” girls went to apply newly acquired skills into practical reality of their lyceums.

Before participation in the project some girls didn’t show their leadership, were very shy and didn’t talk to many people. In a couple of weeks after working on leadership, communication, the way to present themselves, the girls became growing leaders. Lyceum teachers gave feedback about one girl who was very silent and passive in class with her classmates, but participation in the project opened her initiative.

Project participants expressed the idea that they are eager to be involved in social activities, but there is no call for action.

It was very important that within project participants gave life to their leadership ideas while still being in the project and being able to be supported by more experienced girls. Participants initiated communication games, outdoor activities for children, took part in sophomores welcoming lyceum ceremony. One group of volunteers got into contact with non-governmental organization “Pro Familia” that took care of orphans or children without care of one of the parents. Volunteers made fund raising flash mob in lyceum and bought some necessary food and toys for those children. [11]All volunteering activities had success, but the most memorable event organized by volunteers was school leaving party for the last year school children. Group of volunteers made special scenario for this event, prepared special words and music to steer up emotions of school leavers and their parents. All people who were present at this event agreed that it was very well organized, gave a lot of emotions and it showed the alternative how to be make this type of events interesting. It served an example for many following years and for the next generations of students.

In Moldova and in our city very often school leaving parties finish with going to discos and drinking alcohol. In this project we tried to show that there is an alternative – to be healthy and to have happy emotions from happy communication.

No to Violence over Women


Organization: NGO “Center “PROGenEVA”

Project leader: Elena Anastasieva


Very critical problem existing in the society there is violence over women and young girls. Finding solution to this problem should be done by complex of activities and unite corresponding state, non-governmental and private organization. Statistics gives drastically sad numbers as it states that 12-15% of women became the victims of domestic violence in around 16 years old.[12]

Domestic violence is one of the harsh social problems, as it is very uneasy to define the fact that there was a case of domestic violence. Domestic violence victims usually don’t ask for help and prefer to hide family conflicts away from “third persons”.

Center “PROGenEVA” considered that they can influence the problem of domestic violence through organizing informative campaign about domestic violence and through teaching girls leadership skills. Project united 200 participants aged 16- 24 years old what is 70% of citizens of the city of Kalarash where women are dominant population part. Participation in the project raised awareness among young girls about domestic violence, its types and the ways to confront it. Young women also developed communication, leadership skills. Great attention was paid to working our self-confidence, assertive behavior among young women. It was done by involving them into trainings and workshop what grew into a good process of self-exploration. [13]

As a short term result one can observe large number of informed young women about domestic violence. After interviewing in the end of the project 179 participants mentioned that it was the first time when they got to know about such types of violence as economic or psychological. [14]

The project united participants during local fair “Happy Woman can Change the World” where volunteers and participants spread leaflets devoted to topic of domestic violence. Implementing the project Elena managed to create “an army of girls” who protect women rights, promote women’s leadership principles and show their self-confidence in life. Elena managed to unite over the existing problem local region governmental authority, sports and youth department by city council. She managed to attract attention of private people and as well private business. Project was supported by pizzeria San Pizza what kindly offered free space and food for having meetings for young women. This cooperation is established during the project and still continues after project had been finished. Local city council from its side included our activities in the following year plan and even designed some budget to support our activities.

Project raised interest for participation of young women, but at the first stages its implementation was pretty hard. Due to summer period when project activities took part it was hard to invite girls to the training. Passive attitude to self-development and low level of initiative was observed among girls what resulted that girls were on participants’ lists but wouldn’t appear at the training. To solve this issue Elena used her personal networks to invite those people. She had to show photos from previous workshops in order to attract attention of new participants.

[1] Interview with Christina Zhytar, project coordinator “My Generation”

[2] Interview with A.Bogachuk, 18.09.15

[3] Law no. 121/2010 of 18 June on Volunteering was published in the Official Monitor of the Republic of Moldova No.179-181 of September 24, 2010, Art. 608

[4] Unemployment – the main problem of youth, interview on Radio Moldova (2015), retrieved from:

[5] . Interview with A.Popova, project coordinator “My sami s usami”, 17.09.2015

[6] NGO “Women’s Club Holubka” (2014). Narrative report

[7] Interview with Nicoleta Gonca, project coordinator “Students today, business women tomorrow”, 17.09.15;

[8] NGO “Dalida” (2014). Narrative Report

[9] NGO “Consiliul Judetean de Tineret Tighina (2014), Narrative Report

[10] Interview with project coordinator Natalia Sheremet, 20.09.15

[11] Interview with Afteni Ruxanda, project coordinator “The First Step-Making it Together”, 20.09.15

[12] Application Form of the project “No to Violence over Women”, problem description

[13] Interview with Elena Anastasieva, project coordinator, 16.09.15

[14] Project “No to Violence over Women” (2014). Narrative Report





Active girls of Moldova want to make the life better!

Meeting of the winners in the First Step to Success youth leadership program took place on January 24-26, 2014



In 2013 International Charitable Foundation «Ukrainian Women’s Fund» launched in Moldova a long-term campaign «First Step to Success», idea of which appeared in Ukraine in the year 2006. The Program is aimed to open potential of the girls – future leaders, to develop their leadership capacities and skills, as well as to involve girls in participation in civil society in Moldova.


On January 24, 2014 twenty girls who proved that their ideas are worth being supported, who strive to develop their leadership capacities and improve situation in their communities, came to Chisinau.

The three days’ long meeting was full of bright events among which there was the round table with the Program guests. Director of Winrock International in Moldova, Board Member of Ukrainian Women’s Fund Sofia Shuleansky told the girls stories of not only success, but difficult periods in her life and made emphasis that

 «To realize yourself you should know what you want, you should make purposeful efforts and you’ll achieve what you want»

Nadejda Vames, Interiors Inc, successful young entrepreneur agreed to share her story with the girls. She showed the example of how being young one can achieve success by having clear goal, concrete vision and passion to personal victory. «Be unique! Be positive!», «Secret of business success is in the way as manager works with people, with team», Nadejda gave advice.

Participants also met with Gashper Natalia, representative of Peace Corps in Moldova. Her experience and position of civil society activist from another country became unexpected for some of girls, while her personal story about repeated «startups» impressed everyone by openness and belief in success. She remembered an American saying «If you fall down just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep walking», which was a clear reflection of her belief in future. Besides, Natalia gave advice that to achieve success «it is important to love what you do!»

The guests’ stories left no one indifferent. Girls listened to women’s speeches with interest, empathized sincere stories, became inspired by their strong decisions and asked questions.

«Round table with successful women gave me more self-confidence and belief in implementation of my further projects», shared her impressions Daniela, the Program participant, in the end of the meeting.

At the round table, during acquaintance, the girls told about their ideas, how they would like to change life in their communities for better. It turned out that this circle gathered a lot of like-minded persons, who were indifferent to the problem of migration in the country, unemployment among youth, problems of domestic violence and low civil society activism. By sharing experiences and ideas they have, the Program participants discussed existing ways and means to influence existing situation, from small actions to global initiatives.


During education at trainings and master-classes the girls acquired practical skills and theoretic knowledge necessary to implement ideas and projects.

After returning home the participants will start to prepare their applications for participation in the Program’s mini-grants competition of Ukrainian Women’s Fund, which is ready to finance their implementation.

 «I became more self-confident and I am sure that it will be extremely helpful in my further civil society activism; besides, now I have a variety of interesting ideas», Lilia mentioned.


The project is implemented with financial support of


Program’s partner organization in Moldova




Applications for the First Step to Success contest in Moldova are not accepted any more.

We are happy to inform that First Step to Success Program contest in MOldova is closed. Ukrainian Women's Fund received applications from different parts of Moldova, from both capital and small towns and villages. We are glad that the program became intersting for girls who look for ways to realize their ideas, search for opportunities to receive new knowledge, new acquaintances. 

We thank everybody who took part in disseminating information about the contest and thus helped us inform as many Moldova girls as possible.

Applications are swent to expert commttee for examination and the contest results will be announced by November 15. The contest winners will come to the meeting in Chisinau in December 2013.

Let those who the most deserve support and need participation in the First Step to Success youth program will become winners. Good luck! 


Ukrainian Women's Fund announces the start of registration of applications.

We are happy to receive first applications. Works of 10 active girls from Moldova were registered.

If you want to change life by own hands, 

If you have what to tell about you and your achievements,

If you are open for new experience and new knowledge,

If you long for new acquaintances

We are waiting for your applications till October 15, 2013 to the e-mail

We'll be happy to meet you and have common projects.

Ukrainian Women's Fund




Ukrainian Women's Fund announces the start of information campain aimed at disseminating news about the launch of the First Step to Success Program in Moldova.

Within the information promotion campaign of the First Step to Success Program a youth team of co-organizers for 2013 contest starts implementing mini-project.

Promotional campaign supposes conducting several flash mobs in 3 cities of Moldova, sharing posters and leaflets in educational institutions, non-ghovernmental organizations, creating and maintaining pages in active social networks, as well as informing through mass media of Moldova.

The 2013 youth co-organizers team includes girls from Moldova, who were participants of international projct «Youth Philanthropy Unites Countries», implemented by Ukrainian Women's Fund in November 2012. Within that project active and non-indifferent girls from Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus met in Kyiv to exchange experience, practices and to plan projects.

International meeting within the project «Youth Philanthropy Unites Countries».

New on Ukrainian Women's Portal