The gift of bees in MoldovaPublished: Dec 9, 2022 Reading time: 3 minutes
Darul Albinelor, which means "the gift of the bees," is a Moldovan apiary that operates as a social enterprise allowing gainful employment for four disadvantaged young people. Producers of honey and related products, the social enterprise was forced during COVID-19 to reduce its staff due to a lack of funds. However, the young apiarists are back at work thanks to the support of People in Need (PIN) through the EU-funded COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership.
For Ecaterina Marisceac, her job at Darul Albinelor is the only reason she didn't leave Cimișeni, a small village in the central part of Moldova, and search for a better living abroad. She graduated with a focus on economics but finding job opportunities to secure a decent livelihood for her, and her three children was not easy. "When I heard about the apiary hiring people with disabilities, I was very happy. I know many people with disabilities who would be glad to work here because they are usually ignored. It's always been hard to find a job," she says.
Ecaterina has been employed at the apiary for more than two years. Ion Rusu, a young man from a vulnerable family of eight children, is her colleague: "I like what we are doing at the apiary. It is very pleasant, and we are doing it with love."
When the pandemic started, Darul Albinelor couldn't cover the salaries of its employees, and it seemed that they would have to be let go. Thanks to a series of "adaptation grants" offered by PIN as part of the EU-funded programme, the Association of Deaf Children of Moldova (Asociația Copiilor Surzi din Moldova) supported the activities of Darul Albinelor. As a result, Darul Albinelor could continue to employ the four young people who work there.
"The main priority was to reemploy our staff. We made work contracts for four people; we purchased packing materials, Phacelia seeds and assured transport for the people with disabilities. Everything that was planned has been accomplished," says Veronica Capatici, the CEO of Darul Albinelor. Veronica Capatici is a psychoeducation specialist for children with disabilities, but in her retirement, she decided to create this social business, especially since there are no jobs in the area. "We are planning to expand the apiary in the future and to create small businesses for the employees, offering each of them five to 10 hives that they could take care of at home and thus feed their families."
The Association of Deaf Children of Moldova is one of the civil society organisations (CSOs) supported by PIN within the EU-funded solidarity programme. Similar CSOs are financially supported to be more prepared to cope with pandemic situations and adapt their activities to the new reality. The project is implemented by PIN in partnership with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and AFEW International, and it includes interventions in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its content represents the sole responsibility of the "COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership" project, financed by the European Union. The content of the article belongs to the authors and does not necessarily reflect the vision of the European Union.