SOME COOL LINKS:  Mostly about Moldova  good for news and events in and about Moldova.

Clipa.Siderala  works to provide better lives for orphans.

Peter Myers' Blog contains the adventures of a Peace Corps teacher in a nearby village.

Mary Magoulick's Blog a colleague of mine from GC&SU, who is on a Fulbright in Croatia this semester.

SPIA the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia--my graduate alma matter.

  Links to all of my on-line ramblings and other useful information.


The Moldova "Quasi-Blog" VI:

Flag of the Republic of Moldova

 The Adventure Continues...and continues...but will eventually end...

Salavat Jdanov with Olga and Allison outside the Clipa Siderala offices in Riscani section.

The Clipa Siderala sign means that all children can be a "star" for a little while.

A wash area for four apartments in a Soviet bloc

Answering five children's Christmas wishes, Salavat delivers a television to a family of six living in two rooms (no private bathroom or kitchen).

  20 June...Clipa Siderala, one of the rays of hope in the seas of bleakness...if you read my list, you know that the best thing that I got to do in Moldova was to work with Clipa Siderala and to have the opportunity to visit orphanages.  Clipa is an amazing organization that has been making a difference here for 17 years.  It started out in the former Soviet Union when Salavat Jdanov, a PE teacher, came to realize that children living in institutions got no individual attention and that their mental, emotional, and physical health suffered as a result.  In the summer of 1989, Salvat loaded his car with five orphans and took them camping on the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.  Since then this largely locally funded organization has expanded its services to include:
  • Summer Centre Sparta, a camp that runs for four sessions over the entire summer with the first session entirely devoted to children living in institutions.  Clipa funds its year-round operating budget by bringing paying children to the other sessions.
  • Caravana de Craciun (the Christmas Caravan) where everyone in Chisinau is invited to board busses laden with gifts and supplies and visit children living in institutions all over Moldova--this increases awareness and brings needed resources to the kids.
  • Mos Craiciun Postal Service (Santa Claus Post Office), allows all Moldovan children to write Santa and everyone gets a personal response (because Clipa volunteers answer every letter).  Clipa Siderala looks for donors for the most pressing needs and wants.
  • Children's International Festival of Friendship, Sport, and Art which invites all Moldovan children (and some from abroad) to games and activities for a week (the games travel around the country and orphan children get to travel with the games).
  • a portal for all services and information about kids in Moldova (still in development).

What I found most amazing about Clipa is the volunteer spirit with Chisinau kids in high school and university.  One thing I really like about Clipa is that even though Salavat is a Russian speaker, the meetings freely range through languages and it never seems to be an obstacle--refreshing in Moldova.  The Clipa office is always abuzz with new projects and the volunteers get to think about the problems and ways to make Moldova better for kids and that is just plain good stuff! 

I guess it even inspired my crotchety old self because along with several other Americans here in Chisinau and my friend Irina Nicorich, we facilitated an English discussion group so folks could work on their English.  I will end my Fulbright experience with a visit to the Sparta camp in early July and I am actually excited about going to summer camp for a few days.

There are two other organizations that I have heard about that I think do similar things for Moldova (and I am mightily impressed with.  One is the Independent Journalism Center  Their vital work in Moldova is to develop a press that is capable of asking the questions that lead to stable democracy.  They have been involved in all sorts of activities that have the potential to make Moldova prosper as a democratic state--which is not easy given the lack of support the government gives a free press here.

The second agency is CREDO, a Dutch funded initiative that is focused on developing leaders for Moldova's future.  My fellow Fulbrighter, Ryan Kennedy, is helping them get their Masters programs organized.

I also ought to say that the Peace Corps is very active in sending volunteers to Moldova (about 150 currently).  They work on a range of projects from teaching English and business skills to agricultural distribution and leadership.  I have very much enjoyed getting to know the Peace Corps volunteers and am amazed at what they do.  And not all volunteers are young, either.

Whenever one wants to despair about Moldova, and I have wanted to despair several times, one really only need to look around at some of the amazing work that is being done here by dedicated and energetic people--both homegrown and from abroad. 

Adventures of Dr. Chris Grant of Mercer University/2006 Fulbright Scholar


Moldova Patria Mea means Moldova, my guess but my Romanian to English translations are imaginative if not always accurate...

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