© Polina Cupcea

Work for Refugees and Locals in Moldova

© Polina Cupcea

The Russian escalation of hostilities in Ukraine has driven countless people out of the country, with many crossing the border to Moldova. Helvetas is supporting refugees and moldovans to find work and live together peacefully. 

  • Project Name
    V4Joint: Achieving Resilience through Employment, Skills development and social cohesion opportunities in Moldova
  • Project Phase
    2023 to 2024
  • Funding
    This project is an SDC mandate.
  • Thematic focus
    Skills, Jobs and Income
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

An income for particularly vulnerable groups  

There are 110,000 refugees living in Moldova, Ukraine's neighboring country; that's one of the largest ratios per capita, given its small population of 2.6 million. The conflict in Ukraine, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy crisis and a severe drought, caused Moldovas’ economy to collapse in 2020. This made already challenging times even more difficult for many people in Moldova.  

At the same time, many of the refugee women in Moldova are now leading households, since most men cannot leave Ukraine. In addition to childcare, they often have no time for paid work or no access to it. Helvetas supports them to participate in economic life – while also lending support to particularly vulnerable groups of the Moldovan population such as women, single-headed households, Roma, people with a low level of education, persons with disabilities or language difficulties, and those living in isolated rural areas. 

© Clara Abdullah
Making public childcare more accessible so that parents can work: In the village of Gangura, Ialoveni district, Helvetas helped to purchase furniture so that the kindergarten can soon open a new class. © Clara Abdullah
© Clara Abdullah
It is the first of 16 kindergartens supported by Helvetas to expand their services for people in need, including Ukrainian refugees. © Clara Abdullah

Childcare, training and financial support

Helvetas works with various actors in the capital, Chişinău, and in the districts of Lalovenii and Anenii Noi in the south, and Balti, Soroca, Edinet, Drocia and Ocnita in the north. Our activities primarily focus on strengthening communities’ capacities to promote the socio-economic inclusion of vulnerable households. We support the National Employment Agency Territorial Subdivisions to identify vulnerable people and create better conditions for them to find work by facilitating access to employment services.

We provide financial support to parents with minimal income so they can take care of their children or get further education. We also work with SMEs and small craftsmen to create an enabling working environment for vulnerable groups and to expand their pool of workers.

Taking trauma into account

Many Ukrainians are traumatized and burdened by the events surrounding the war. In addition, tensions with the locals can increase as competition for jobs becomes fiercer. This is where Helvetas can offer its expertise in conflict-sensitive environments by bringing various actors together to promote the socioeconomic inclusion of vulnerable populations, including Ukrainian refugees. 

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.

How Helvetas Supports People in Moldova

We aim to stimulate Moldova's market systems and generate more economic opportunities for its citizens.
© Helvetas / Patrick Rohr

Making Markets and Jobs