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Moldova: Is it just WASH work or pursuit of fulfillment?

As Mira's* passion for craftsmanship grew, she didn't stop with just eco-friendly whitewashing works. She delved into the work of placing ceramic tiles, determined to pursue other alternatives in her career. Sustainable ones...

Posted on 29 Sep 2023

One would expect a traditional ceramic worker placing tiles in the restored bathroom of the Accommodation Asylum Centre in Chisinau, but here is the difference. Many a female in Moldova masters skills of predominantly male professions, such as masonry, WASH repair, wall plastering or new energy efficacy technologies.

Career change

Back in 2007, Mira held a position as a secretary at a local vinery in Moldova, where her responsibilities primarily turned around handling various administrative paperwork, organization and maintaining order. Her compensation for this role was about 600 lei per month, which, while manageable, did not meet all her financial needs.

One day, she saw women working in neighbouring offices, repairing and enhancing the surroundings and facilities, which intrigued her curiosity, but also made her closer to her life-long wishes of interior designing. She decided to give it a shot, and to her surprise, the remuneration for this fresh opportunity was soon enough, nearly four times higher!

During her break times at the vinery, Mira dedicated herself to practicing and acquiring new expertise in various aspects of interior work. She developed a strong passion for it and aspired to further enhance her abilities.

Consequently, she decided to take some time off and embarked on a journey all the way to Moscow to hone her skills. It was a four-year endeavor that allowed her to truly excel in her craft. She mastered incredible skills of environmental sanitation technologies, worked in numerous construction projects that directly benefit people’s well-being, learnt from reconstruction experts in this work and proved many times and in many ambients the beauty of her products.

Improving other people’s lives

When she returned to Moldova, Mira embarked on a career in the construction industry. She acknowledges that it involves demanding labor, but what motivates her to proceed is witnessing the joy and satisfaction on people's faces when they see the outcomes of her efforts. It's this sense of pride and shared happiness that fuels her determination.

At the Accommodation Asylum Centre in Chisinau, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is actively collaborating with Moldova's migration management authorities (Inspectorate General for Migration) to enhance the reception and lodging conditions for refugees and asylum seekers. This effort is being accomplished through the Site Management Support and WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) activities, supported by UNICEF and DRC and in current progress. 

A vital component of this initiative involves ongoing renovation work in the bathrooms, showers, and restrooms. These improvements not only increase the center's capacity but also play a significant role in providing better access to proper sanitation facilities. This asylum center houses a diverse population, including mothers with children and newborns, as well as individuals from various nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.

Therefore, it is of greatest importance to prioritize cultural sensitivity, uphold dignity and safeguard the privacy of all residents within this communal environment. This commitment to inclusivity and respect ensures that the Accommodation Asylum Centre remains a place where one can find refuge and support during challenging times, some even from the war-driven displacement from Ukraine.

“I look around and see mothers and children here in the asylum centre, who will soon enter renovated facilities, have access to clean water and sanitation services - feel secure and cared for. I only think how fast and how beautiful I can make it for them.” - Mira hurries through her works and her genuine desires.


*Name changed to protect the identity of the interviewee   

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