AREAP: Providing a Warm Meal and a Helping Hand to the Elderly in MoldovaPublished: Jan 11, 2022 Reading time: 4 minutes
Finding a warm meal is a challenge for many elderly people in Moldova. Thanks to an organization called AREAP - supported by People in Need and funded by the European Union - almost 3,000 lunches were delivered within a one-year-long project.
Ecaterina Gnatiuc is a volunteer with AREAP, an organisation based in the North of Moldova. Some of the elderly people consider her an angel, because she is sometimes the only person visiting them. She delivers them warm food. “It's like a restaurant. We get borsch, and a second course of buckwheat with meatballs, pasta, or pilau. The food is very tasty; I like it. Thank you so much for it,” says Svetlana Babici, who lives only with her daughter with a disability.
Chiril and Rebeca Cazacu are also very grateful: “We are very thankful. The food is so good. I just wish it [the food delivery] could last forever.” They survive off of their pension, sending financial support to their son as well, so it's hard to pay a cook. “My hands hurt. I’m trying to do things in the house, but it’s too difficult. I can’t even peel a potato. I can peel an apple, but with a lot of effort,” Rebeca adds.
This aid is not only about food delivery. Most often, social contact is a more important resource for the elderly of Moldova. Ecaterina also brings meals to Nina Fetco, an older woman living alone near the town of Edinet. She cannot walk anymore. She keeps all essential items close to her bed. “I worked in the kolkhoz. I had four cows and a house. I worked a lot, this is why I now can’t leave the bed,” says Nina. She doesn't receive any governmental support. Occasionally, her relatives come to take care of her. “Sometimes I knit dome socks because my feet are cold. Although I don’t see very well. It’s hard. I’m quite blind and it takes a while until I get the thread into the needle.“ Nina is happy to see Ecaterina twice a week. Any help is appreciated.
Before this programme in Edineț municipality, finding a warm meal was difficult for many. But thanks to AREAP social services, beneficiaries received warm lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ecaterina delivered almost 3,000 warm meals to 190 vulnerable elderly people in a 12-months-long project. It was especially important during the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our team noticed that there are beneficiaries who eat a warm lunch only because of the services that we offer within this project on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some of the elderly who received these services do not have children. Others have children who are overseas and have forgotten about their parents at home,” says Alina Resetnicov, Director of AREAP. Her colleagues also offer other services, such as hairdressing or laundry.
AREAP is one of the civil society organisations (CSOs) supported by People in Need (PIN) within the EU-funded COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership. It focuses on support of civil society organizations. They are trained, capacitated and financially supported to be more prepared for coping with pandemic situations. “Within this project, we are supporting 15 Civil Society Organizations that deliver services to over 5,800 beneficiaries. The support varies from warm meals, haircut services and laundry to prevention of child abuse, support to children with leukemia, sexual education, services for people with mental disabilities and assistance to entrepreneurs in form of masterclasses and consultancy to overcome the negative impact of COVID-19,” says Cristian Slobodeaniuc, project manager from People in Need Moldova.
The aim of the EU-funded COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership is to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 and to contribute to the longer-term socioeconomic resilience of vulnerable groups in Eastern Europe. Implemented by PIN, in partnership with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and AFEW International, the project includes interventions in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
This material was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of People in Need and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.