Following the Republic of Moldova declaration of independence in 1991, the country witnessed a revival of religious life. Four years later, this renewal of faith served as an impetus for Bishop of Chisinau to create Caritas Moldov to provide assistance to the poor and marginalized. At present, the main categories of beneficiaries of Caritas Moldova are: homeless people, aged persons with insufficient means for survival, persons with disabilities, terminally ill patients or persons with severe illnesses, children and young people, vulnerable families and one-parent families, socially isolated people, victims of disasters and other vulnerable categories. As well as vocational schools, hospitals, kindergartens, prisons and other state social institution. Through its activities, the mission contributes to the poverty eradication and establishment of equitable social systems, promoting values of tolerance and Christian mercy.
Caritas Moldova’s partnership and support from international organisations and Caritas offices around the world has enabled it to expand the scope and scale of their humanitarian aid and social assistance programmes. Caritas Moldova’s activity began with simple distribution of humanitarian help received from the West and evolved to complex and long term projects. Together with national and international partners, Caritas has managed to set up projects that become representative for the mission: medical-social centres, day centres for children from vulnerable families, canteens, night shelter for homeless people, parish social ministries, etc.
In 2004, Caritas Moldova revises its strategy against poverty by implementing a strategic pilot plan. Thus, beginning with January 2005 started the implementation of the first Strategic plan for 3 years (2005-2007) according to standards of Caritas Europa. The first plan is followed by the Strategic Plan 2008-2010 that aimed to achieve a number of goals such as assistance provided to groups of vulnerable persons and social reintegration of poor and marginalized people.
Beside charitable projects and actions of solidarity with persons in need, Caritas Moldova intervenes also in natural disasters, offering help to people, but also to social institutions of the state. Caritas Moldova stood by those who confronted the consequences of summer drought 2007, but also victims of floods in July 2008.
In 2010, significant rainfall caused flooding in several regions in the north of the country, the most affected being Nemteni, Obileni and Cotul Morii villages from the Hincesti district. In order to reduce the unfortunate consequences of floods and to improve the living conditions of the victims, Caritas Moldova implemented projects of assistance, which included: support to victims of summer floods 2010; rehabilitation of social infrastructure and support to affected families with seeds and fodder after floods in the Hincesti district.
Through these projects, which were implemented with the generous support of a number of donors, 1680 families (4800 persons) affected by the floods were assisted.
In 2011, Caritas Moldova tried to look at the future from a clean page and to let the Holy Spirit to inspire new activities. Such an approach resulted in elaboration of a new Strategic Plan 2012-2016.
According to the new Plan, the following 5 strategic priorities represent the fundamental pillars of the activity, aiming to serve better the social vulnerable groups from the country during the next 5 years:
• Community development
• Assistance and Medical Care of the vulnerable groups
• Social Assistance of vulnerable groups
• Education, Prevention and Youth
• Disaster relief
Caritas Moldova will be dedicated to the consolidation of working capacities, development of the voluntary spirit, promotion of Christian charity, efficient cooperation with the state authorities, etc.
Through its activities, Caritas urges the Christian community to be united with the society and to demonstrate that all of us are a part of the same big family – daughters and sons of God and nobody is excluded.
Caritas Moldova operates on the territory of the Republic of Moldova through its National Bureau and 11 branches located in: Balti, Chisinau, Cretoaia, Grigorauca, Rascov, Ribnita, Slobozia Rascov, Stauceni, Tighina (Bender), Stircea, Tiraspol. Caritas Moldova branches are based in parishes, consisting of a local director (the parish priest of the community), a lay coordinator, employees and volunteers. At a national level, Caritas Moldova consists of Administrative Board, Censor Committee, president, vice-president, director and spiritual assistant. Permanent staff of Caritas Moldova includes 120 people and 200 permanent volunteers.
Caritas Moldova is one of the members of Caritas Internationalis, and often collaborates and receives support from the global Caritas network; such as Caritas Germany, Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Czech Republic, Caritas Austria, Caritas Vienna, Caritas Luxembourg, Caritas Poland, Caritas Romania, Caritas Italy and Catholic Relief Services.
Fr Deacon Edgar Vulpe