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rehabilitation of hope

for a better life The Programme of Rehabilitation of Social Institutions of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Moldova (2001-2008)

Agenţia Elveţiană pentru Dezvoltare și Cooperare SDC

rehabilitation of hope

for a better life The Programme of Rehabilitation of Social Institutions of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Moldova (2001-2008)

Agenţia Elveţiană pentru Dezvoltare și Cooperare SDC


The orphanage for middle school children in Ungheni becomes a better home

4 Respect for human dignity reappears at the psycho-neurological hospital of Bender

6 Joy is an indicator of success at kindergarten no. 3 of Nisporeni

8 The fight for dignity and life continues at Cocieri

10 Treating the psycho-neurological hospital of Tiraspol as the patient cures more than one illness

12 More warmth, light, and perspective at the orphanage for middle school children in Orhei

14 A better life in detention is possible at the prison for women in Rusca

16 Too recently, too far in the past: a normal life approaches at Badiceni psycho-neurological hospital

18 Ialoveni boarding school for children with musculo-skeletal disorders moves on

20 Hope flourishes like a plant in the greenhouse at Branzeni psycho-neurological hospital

22 Running to win in the gym of the Glinjeni lyceum


Foreword The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) started its first activities in the Republic of Moldova in the year 2000. Very soon after, in the following year, the first projects of physical rehabilitation of social institutions have been designed and launched. When this specific programme with a total budget of CHF 4.6 million has been closed at the end of the year 2008, 11 projects had been executed with high professional standards and care together with the local partners. This brochure wants to show what SDC has done, what has been achieved and how the beneficiaries' daily life in these institutions has improved. Moldova has a huge need for rehabilitation works in its many social institutions, most of which were constructed more than 30 years ago. These institutions have had very little maintenance and few, if any, renovations. Plus, the facilities were built during a different era with different standards. In the Soviet years, for example, fuel was both abundant and cheap, so engineers made no effort to conserve energy. Now that the state budget can no longer rely on the resources of a vast empire, fuel is at a premium, if it is available at all, so energy efficiency has come sharply into focus. During the past few years, the Moldovan authorities have made and continue to make efforts to revamp the facilities which need it most. But the necessary repairs are relatively expensive for the limited financial means that are available. The projects supported by SDC have made a big difference not just to the institutions where the projects have been carried out, but especially to the residents of those institutions, and to their families who cannot care for them at home. The largest rehabilitation project so far has been the rehabilitation of the residential blocks and the water and sanitation system in the women's prison in Rusca. Increased privacy, healthier sanitary conditions, and reduced violence have improved immeasurably the quality of daily life for the inmates. Young children are no longer frightened by their surroundings when they come to spend time with the mothers they miss so much. However, much remains to be done in Moldova. We cannot sit by while fellow human beings suffer hopelessly. SDC has built such a good relationship with the social institutions it has worked with that the door has opened for another valuable project, the introduction of occupational therapy activities in the psycho-neurological institutions of the country, including at those institutions in the frozen conflict region of Transnistria. This project is ongoing and considerably improves both the working conditions of the staff as well as the living conditions of the patients. Thanks to the commitment of the directors of each institution and the support they receive from the Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child, occupational therapy has become widely accepted as a means of both helping the patients achieve a healthy, normal life and creating sustainability within the establishment. The cooperation between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and its partners in the Republic of Moldova serve as an excellent example for other authorities and decision makers who are interested in making a difference in the lives of people.

Thomas KUGLER Country Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Moldova

Along with that door, many new opportunities opened up for the boarding school children. One week later back in Ungheni, the director, along with a team from the Swiss Programme of Rehabilitation of social institutions were planning renovations that would transform the residential institution into a better home for the children.

Valeriu Artemie, 16 years old, is one of the children at the institution. ”We are just like a family,” he says as he enters the renovated building that he lives in. The boys keep house plants on their windowsills, just like the girls do in their rooms, which are situated on the other side of the stairs. For example, like Cristina Ojacov does, who loves biology. She has been at the boarding school for seven years already, more than a half of her life. She carries on, despite the losses she has experienced. “A friend of mine, Cristina, graduated from our school and we went our separate ways. I am lucky that Stela, another friend of mine, is still here.”

The Ungheni boarding school for orphans and children left without parental care is now a better home for each of the 166 children staying there. “It goes without saying that we cannot count on the parents' help as other schools do,” says the director of the boarding school, Arcadie Plesca. His regret, however, gradually melts away into satisfaction as he starts speaking about the support granted by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The feelings of family belonging and friendship take root more easily now that the school is arranged differently. With the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the layout of the two residential buildings was changed so that the children can now live two to four people per room “united by kinship, common interests, or friendship”, as the director says, “instead of 11 to 15 people as it was before, like army barracks.” In three short years, from 2005 to 2008, the orphanage for middle school children in Ungheni has changed more than in all four decades since its establishment. The roofs were replaced ”with higher slopes so as not to retain snow,” as director Plesca remarks. New windows and doors have replaced the old wooden ones that “when we would open them to air out the rooms, we never knew if we would manage to shut them again.” The Swiss Agency repaired the interior of the buildings, repairs which were needed so badly that “we were afraid the old plaster would fall down on the sleeping children at night.” The foundation was reinforced with iron and concrete because it had a crack. A modern WC was built outside the educational unit and the facade was renovated. All of this and a series of other works make all of the 166 children feel more at home so they are able to step into their adult lives with confidence. Valeriu wants to join the army, whereas Cristina would like to become a physician. “Our graduates study at colleges, either civil

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The orphanage for middle school children in Ungheni becomes a better home

The story of cooperation between the orphanage for middle school children in Ungheni and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation began in 2005, rather like a fairy-tale. A man was rambling through the streets of Chisinau searching for a foreign embassy so he could ask for help for the children who were waiting for him back in an old house, numerous children with numerous needs. It was the director Arcadie Plesca. “A young man in the street told me to go to the nearby office of the Swiss Agency for Development.” He found the office, pressed the doorbell and, when the door opened, gave a written message requesting assistance for his school.

engineering, road-building, or trade colleges. Some of them become shepherds, too. But none is a vagabond, thief, or beggar,” the director tells us, who also strives to help the children plan for their future. The institution's past is reflected in the memories of Gheorghe Darie, the school's deputy director for education. In 2009, he will have served at the school for 30 years. “There were 560 children here when I came in 1979, and we brought them carpets from home so as to give them a little comfort.” Some of those carpets might still be preserved in the school museum, along with other antiques that are valuable as evidence of those times. Memories of the years just before the rehabilitation activities undertaken by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation at the school have also found their place at the museum. One such memory is the 300 thousand tons of coal that used to fill the entire playground every winter for heating. It also filled the lungs of the personnel who burned seven tons of it a day and took half of it back out as cinder. Coal expenses amounted to 413,600 MDL per year. Now, after the installation of a new gas heating system, heating payments are only 200,000 MDL, less than half of what they used to be. “And the heat loss on the heating main is just two degrees,” exclaims the director in the boiler room where the water supply, sewerage, heating, and power supply systems have all been completely replaced. In the middle of December 2008, another international agency brought footwear for children to the boarding school of Ungheni. Earlier, the school had benefited from a donation of flour from a sponsor, so that the children could eat a fresh bun every day. The students also told us about other projects, travels, or trainings organized by various organizations. Director Plesca finds words of gratitude for every contribution, no matter how small. However, the renovations done by the Swiss Agency for Development he describes as a “capital investment,” i.e. fundamental for the life of the children, who will step out of a better home towards maturity, into a world that they can better adapt to and transform into their new home.

ORPHANAGE FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL CHILDREN IN UNGHENI Total investments: 5,230,342 MDL / CHF 545' 350 National partner: Ministry of Education and Youth of the Republic of Moldova International partner: Caritas Switzerland

Although it is a psycho-neurological hospital for patients with locomotor and mental disorders – some of them extremely severe – the institution needs to be, first and foremost, a hospital for people. Along with the opening celebration promoted by the director, Anatolie Babiuc, respect for human dignity has reappeared at the hospital in Bender. The manager's goal, he says, is to “do everything possible so that both the patients and the employees live and work in an atmosphere of dignity, and lead a human life. Because this is no lunatic asylum.” The removal of old stuff from the neurological hospital of Bender started in 2005, accompanied by a thorough cleaning, during which nearly 30 tons of garbage were collected and transported to the landfill. It is hoped that some of the poorer practices have also been eliminated along with it.

Vova and Misha were the ones who shouted the loudest: “Thank you!” The winter holidays came early to the 25 children at the psychoneurological hospital of Bender when, on December 15, 2008, the employees of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation brought toys and presents. All 385 patients feel the effects of the reconstruction works performed by the MoldovanSwiss cooperation over the last two years. “Thank God there are good-hearted people and generous nations!” comments Anatolie Babiuc, director of the Bender facility.

Thus, workers cleared the way for a general overhaul of three residential buildings. The water, sewer, and electrical systems have been replaced. Extensive repairs included the rooms, corridors, bathrooms, and WCs. The changes are fundamental indeed: reinforcement of the foundations, new windows and doors, renovated facades, and new roofs were all in order. A fourth building was completely rearranged inside and a separate sanitary unit was installed, in addition to the replacement of doors and windows.

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Respect for human dignity reappears at the psychoneurological hospital of Bender

The children blow soap bubbles, each one with a toy in hand, in the presence of the director. When the bubbles burst, the good mood of the boys lingers. Much more durable, however, are the improvements made with the support of the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss national emblem and an inscription discretely give credit to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for helping this closed institution open up to cooperation, innovation, and novelty.

PSYCHONEUROLOGICAL HOSPITAL IN BENDER Total investments: 4,333,000 MDL / CHF 451' 787 Partner: Local administration

Now the cleanliness outside and inside, the flowers and vegetables growing around during the warm season, and the warm care given to the sick children who were brought here recently from another overpopulated residential institution, prove that this is a hospital for women and children. The women staying at the Bender hospital carry on their lives as if they were at home, whether they are on their feet, bedridden, or moving about in wheelchairs. One is holding a broom in her hands while another one is reading a book. Yet another is knitting next to a well-loved doll that is lying on the bed of another patient. Any attempt to bring peace, comfort, order, and hope into the world of the patients is encouraged unreservedly by the institution's management. Another kind of comfort – clothes and food – is provided both for and by the patients long in advance of the winter holidays. One of the occupational therapy workshops produces wool scarves and socks for all the 360 women at the hospital. Three thousand cans (approximately three tons) of sauerkraut, pickled watermelons, tomatoes, etc. are already stored in the warehouses and the cellars. All these improvements – some larger, some smaller – carried out together by the hospital management and the local authorities, with the support provided by the Swiss Agency for Development, change the destinies of forgotten people, people who try to avoid looking at the ground and instead look ahead, as far as it goes. They now look out beyond the disaster that used to surround them, at the approaching normality that they deserve.

“Before all windows were latticed. We were afraid that our patients could run away. The rooms were shabbily arranged, the patients led a povertystricken and drab existence. In the present, houseplants are everywhere, the rooms are clean and the windows are decorated with lovely curtains. We removed the grating and no one escaped. „Nobody runs from wellbeing”. Anatolie BABIUC, Director of the psycho-neurological hospital in Bender

Improvements in the children's lives at kindergarten no. 3 began with the signing of an agreement between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the District Council of Nisporeni back in 2004 on the joint financing of repairs. It was a beneficial agreement for each. “Both we, the adults, and the children are lucky that we were able to do so much for them,” recognizes director of the kindergarten, Raisa Ciochina.

From floors to roofs – everything has been replaced, from old to new: new ceramic tiles on the walls in the corridors, WCs, and lavatories; new plaster and paint in all the facilities; new doors in all the sanitary and food distribution units. “Now even washing-up is more fun,” says one of the 37 employees of the kindergarten, pointing out only one of the numerous advantages of the repairs carried out with the assistance of the Swiss Agency. Other repairs include setting up a system to collect rain water for washing linen and dishes, connecting the institution to the centralized drinking water supply system, and constructing a new sewer system. In a joint achievement, SDC designed a new boiler-room and the local public administration financed its construction, mounted the

Photographs of children are glued onto the lockers. The inscription on Maria's T-shirt says in large letters “Sergio...” followed by an Italian sounding name, probably a clothes and perfume designer. Vadim's sports jersey simply says “Italy”. The inscriptions are reminders of the country where the children's parents went for work. Nevertheless, it was another country that provided support to the kindergarten in which the children can now feel at home – Switzerland. Through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, kindergarten no. 3 of Nisporeni truly became an institution for the children, rather than just a child care facility.

“We have found a healthy cooperation with the Swiss and will continue to implement joint projects in future.” President of the Nisporeni district,

Ion Munteanu Report on one year of activity

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Joy is an indicator of success at kindergarten no. 3 of Nisporeni

What does a new window mean? For the children, it may just be a frame through which they look out at the end of the day to see their mother, father, grandparents, or other relatives coming to take them home. But when an adult looks out the double-pane glass, they notice, first and foremost, that no chilling wind is blowing through and the heat is retained. If the story of the Little Prince had been written in Nisporeni, the author could have used windows to show how differently children and adults see reality, even when they look out from the same point.

internal heating system, and connected it to the boiler-room. Furthermore, this contribution enabled the renovation of the facade and the improvement of the grounds at the kindergarten. One educator states, “We left the [old] stoves as museum pieces, so that we can tell the children how things used to be.” People ask, “Where does all this energy come from?” The question is not about the installation of the new electricity network at kindergarten no. 3, but about the kindergarten manager's effectiveness and efficiency. Director Ciochina explains, “I don't like working the old way, I am always looking for new ideas. I don't even want to recall how things used to be. It is enough,” she says, “to go to any other preschool institution in the region to get a reminder” of how it used to be at her kindergarten prior to the cooperation with the Swiss Agency for Development. When the community talks about the cooperation, in addition to the Swiss partner, they often mention the District Council of Nisporeni, the current and former mayors, Ion Gangan and Victor Rusu. The parents also contributed – especially those who do not work abroad – “to the best of their abilities.” Established in 1971, many of the children who attended this kindergarten in Nisporeni years ago, now have children of their own. As parents, they want the best for their children. Some of them have chosen this same kindergarten no. 3, now renovated. These former pupils come every day to drop off or pick up their children. They rejoice at the happy continuation of their kindergarten for their own children. Performance is not only counted in numbers of projects completed. Joy can be an indicator of success, too.

KINDERGARTEN NO. 3 OF NISPORENI Total investments: 1,700,000 MDL / CHF 177' 253 Regional partner: the District Council of Nisporeni

During the armed conflict, the 420 patients were evacuated in a long convoy of buses under gunfire, and during the gas conflict, the hospital was completely cut off from gas supplies. Its inhabitants – patients, health care personnel, employees, and administrators – all fight from day to day for a normal, dignified existence.

“The hardest of all was the war of '92. I went to work as to a war front. Every morning, I used to bid farewell to my family!” testifies Gheorghe Loghin, director of the psycho-neurological hospital of Cocieri, who has been working here for 20 years. Then he cuts his confession short to answer the phone. “Don't worry. It's warm in here. He receives food and care,” he reassures the parent of a new patient, who is interested in the conditions his son is staying in.

A, B, C, and D. The first alphabet letters stand for the four buildings of the psychoneurological hospital of Cocieri, Dubasari. Just like the alphabet, the first interventions performed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) at such facilities are always in the same order: heating, roofs, and occupational therapy workshops. The Swiss Agency has responded to emergencies at this social institution at the appeal of the Moldovan Government, ever since joint activities were first launched in 2001 with the replacement of the entire heating system, continuing until recently when SDC offered a humanitarian donation in the first few days of 2009 to overcome a fuel deficiency.

Unlike this new patient, the majority of patients at the hospital of Cocieri have been there since 2001, when the Rehabilitation Programme of SDC first became involved with the institution. The replacement of all piping, radiators and of the entire heating system was followed by the insulation of the heat supply pipes, until 2007 the institution received heating from the nearby Republican Centre for the rehabilitation of disabled people and veterans. In 2007, the hospital built a boiler-room of their own. After that, the sanitary units in one of the residential buildings underwent thorough repairs, the water supply system was replaced and the doors were changed. In 2002 and 2003, new roofs with wooden, load-carrying beams and slate sheets were erected on the A, B, C, and D buildings and on the galleries that link them together.

“All these are investments rather than expenses. We are talking of benefits rather than costs,” reports director Loghin. Loghin understands cooperation as “We do a part of the job and they do something as well. This is what the sponsors like. This way we will accomplish more.” In 2008, all the windows and doors in another dormitory building were replaced with the support of the Swiss Agency. In the near future, the management plans to repair the interior of the dormitory, as well as to renew the facade and build a fence. At such an institution, fences are not constructed to isolate the hospital from the world, since the residents are all but forgotten by their parents, children, or relatives, but because it is safer for the patients. The people at the hospital do manage, though, to live ordinary lives like what they would have in the outside world, by means of the objects they manufacture at the ergotherapy workshops. Maria Tugulea, the occupational therapy instructor, talks about her disciples' achievements at the national exhibitions in which they took part, and about their daily work. “Lenuta sewed four bed-sheets today. Tolea was not behind. Aliona will work in the afternoon. But it is Ruslan who is the leader here. Together with the other people involved, they cut, knit, and sew”

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The fight for dignity and life continues at Cocieri

To live or work at the psycho-neurological hospital of Cocieri, the Dubasari district, means to fight. This institution for people with physical and mental disorders is situated in the eastern region of the country and falls under the jurisdiction of the Chisinau authorities. As a result of its geographical location, it has experienced several confrontations during its thirty-five year history: the Moldovan-Transnistrian armed conflict of 1992 and the gas crisis of the 2008-2009 winter, to name the most well-known and the most recent.

everything for the daily needs of the 372 men and women at the psycho-neurological hospital of Cocieri. Such activities help the residents cope with the difficulties and lead efficient, functional, productive, and above all, normal lives. The sustained partnership, through which the institution “achieves more” if everybody makes their contribution, continued in 2009, when both the hospital of Cocieri and the Republican Centre for the rehabilitation of disabled people and veterans, were completely cut off from gas supplies during the first weeks of the year, due to the gas conflict between Ukraine and Russia. At that time, the Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child mounted diesel oil burning devices in both of their boiler-rooms and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation donated the diesel oil required for the normal operation of the institutions until the gas supply was restored. Thus, the provision of aid has continued, even after the Rehabilitation Programme of social institutions of SDC was completed. Nina Barcari, the administrator of the Republican Centre, describes the durability of the interventions done back in 2004 by the Swiss Agency. “We are very much obliged to them. The roof does not leak any more. And it will stand up to the elements for many years to come.” SDC built a roof for the cafeteria of this institution, which currently shelters 233 people. What do the people do between their meals in the canteen under their new roof? “They do their treatment, paint and knit, play chess, get married and, sometimes, divorce,” Barcari says of life at the centre. The eldest inhabitant is 92 years old, and the youngest is a 34 year old disabled person. The roof will outlive some of them. Because it was built to last.

PSYCHO-NEUROLOGICAL HOSPITAL AND REPUBLICAN CENTRE FOR THE REHABILITATION OF DISABLED PEOPLE AND OF WAR VETERANS IN COCIERI, DUBASARI Total investments to the psycho-neurological hospital of Cocieri: 3,800,000 MDL / CHF 396' 213 Total investments to the Republican Centre for the rehabilitation of disabled people and of war veterans in Cocieri: 480,000 MDL / CHF 50' 048 National partner: Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child of the Republic of Moldova

The Tiraspol psycho-neurological hospital has been treating patients with locomotor and mental disorders for 44 years. One of its current patients has been at the hospital since the year of its establishment. If she could speak, the woman could tell the entire history of the hospital first-hand, with all the transformations it has been through. A physician with a service record of three decades at the hospital, Stanislav Petrov, can easily compare what it used to be like not so long ago and the way things are now. The

“Our joint effort to ensure high quality care, the close monitoring of performance by the experts of the Swiss Development Agency, and the fact that the personnel here and the patients are preserving everything we've worked so hard to accomplish together – these are the most important aspects of this cooperation.” Vitalie ZINOVENKO, local businessman who performed the renovation works at the hospital of Tiraspol

The facility was on the verge of collapse from day to day, just like the hope of the patients and employees of the psycho-neurological hospital of Tiraspol. It has been the “diagnosis” since 2003 that this health care institution needed a strong “treatment” of engineering solutions. Such was the prescription of hospital director, Victor Palitev. Working together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and with the local authorities, the community has brought things back to normal. After going through “rehab,” the institution is now able to offer better living conditions and treatment to the 350 people residing there.

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Treating the psychoneurological hospital of Tiraspol as the patient cures more than one illness

The laundry facility was literally falling down. Doors, windows, heating, water, sewerage, electric power, and floors were all lacking for several years in one of the two buildings that could only nominally be called “residential” despite the fact that patients did live there. “I don't even know what we would have done without the support of the Swiss Agency for Development,” recognizes the director Victor Palitev.

memories of patients and doctors alike, plus old photographs and documents, describe an institution that has been in an extremely poor state for many years. How could a facility possibly alleviate the sufferings of the sick, when the hospital itself was the sickest of all? The institution consists of two residential buildings for men, a building for children, a canteen, an administrative building, and a health station – all linked by a 180 meter long gallery, which the National Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Program of the SDC, Grigore Bordeianu, calls “the backbone of the hospital” due to its vital nature. Director Palitev says, “These corridors were so badly destroyed that they could not be used safely by either the physicians, nurses, or patients, without a risk to their health and even life. Yet over 300 people walk through them every day”. The first intervention administered to the institution with the help of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation consisted of constructing and furnishing new laundry facilities that now process 300-400 kg of laundry per day without producing any unpleasant smell or moistness that might harbor mold or bacteria. The second intervention was the complete reconstruction of a residential building. The

PSYCHO-NEUROLOGICAL HOSPITAL OF TIRASPOL Total investments: 4,823,000 MDL / CHF 502' 878 Partner: Local administration

recovery of the hospital's backbone, accompanied by the installation of new heating, water, and electricity systems, a telephone network, and new doors and windows was the third important intervention. The complete rehabilitation programme also included mounting roofs on the gallery and the patients' buildings as well as rearranging the occupational therapy facilities. Thus, the psycho-neurological hospital has undergone a course of intensive therapy over several years, with interventions that have kept it alive. It can now, in its turn, offer another kind of treatment – ergotherapy. Patients learn to express their abilities through knitting, painting, handicrafts, hairdressing, shoe-making, and sewing at workshops in the SDC-led Occupational Therapy Program. As professionals explain, “The feeling of being useful helps a patient find an easier way towards a better state.” Even the effects of the renovations on the people staying at the Tiraspol hospital can be expressed in medical terms: Mortality has dropped by half in the past five years. The quality of life and respect for the work performed have increased proportionally. As the hospital recovers from its severe illness, hope for a better life and faith in the future has reappeared among its physicians and patients.

Naturally, the builders contracted by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) did not live at the orphanage for middle school children in Orhei. It is, however, the home of Maxim and another 284 orphans and children from vulnerable families, who live and learn there. It is also the home of Nicolae Cobasneanu, director of the orphanage, who was one of the first graduates of the boarding school in 1963. In the future, Maxim would like to have a car that he has painted in many colours. The director has plans of his own: a new pavement, and not too far in the future, but in 2009, when the boarding school will celebrate its fifty year anniversary, when guests and graduates will walk through its recently renovated halls and doors.

In truth, renovations at the orphanage started in 2004, long before the institution's anniversary was being thought of, because the partners' primary goal is to enhance the facilities for the children who grow up and develop here, rather than for the adults who come for a visit and then go away. Quality work and better living conditions for the children are the result of multiple visits paid to the boarding school by the Swiss Agency experts – starting with the setting of priorities, all the way to the examination of works and their final evaluation.

“We work together, we

contribute together, we keep the connection alive.” This is how Nicolae Cobasneanu, director of the orphanage for middle school children in Orhei, explains the meaning of the word “cooperation” as he looks back on his experiences with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The director applied some other key words to describe the way the Rehabilitation Programme of the Swiss Agency performed the renovation works at his institution: “in an organized way, honestly and without delays, as if the builders were working in their own home.”

More warmth, light, and perspective are the result of the double-pane glass windows in the two three-level residential buildings; of installing new water, sewer, and heating systems on the premises; and of mounting new doors and plaster at all the reconstructed entrances. Repairs of the sanitary facilities, including replacement of the ceramic tile floor and all equipment, plus thorough repairs on the institution's health station, and construction of a modern WC outdoors for the warm season, have added to the children's cleanliness, comfort , and health. The health care personnel attribute the reduction in disease incidence among the children to these improvements of

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More warmth, light, and perspective at the orphanage for middle school children in Orhei

hygiene and comfort: “We have just two children in our isolation ward at the moment.” The management can now shift their focus from recovery of the children's health and concerns for the institution's survival, to the children's training and leisure activities. These involve permanent participations in exhibitions abroad with small carpets embroidered by the children, successful performances of the two model art groups, the Traffic Safety Week at the school, and a Rights of the Child Week. On National Teacher's Day, some children became teachers for the day, substitute teaching all classes and managing the school's affairs, while the regular teachers “rested” and observed.

“Maintaining” is the most frequently used key word at the boarding school of Orhei. All staff and children work together to maintain everything that has been achieved during the school's rehabilitation.

ORPHANAGE FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL CHILDREN IN ORHEI Total investments: 3,693,000 MDL / CHF 385' 057 National partner: Ministry of Education and Youth of the Republic of Moldova

The institution maintains the cooperation contact with the construction company, which after it completed the first interventions, then installed a new roof on one of the dormitory buildings in 2006. That same year, a new water pipe connected the school with the town's water supply, also with the support of SDC. The Swiss Agency returned to Orhei and other institutions in the Republic of Moldova with a maintenance initiative.

With help from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, new heating, electricity, water and sewage systems have gone a long way towards making the prison fit for human beings to live in. Better ventilation and the creation of health units serve those in mild detention on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Sanitary facilities installed in each cell have improved the quality of life for the high-security detainees held on the 1st floor.

Smaller rooms instead of huge common spaces provide privacy. New windows and doors throughout the penitentiary let in more light. The renovated facade and repaired roofs of the detention building and the health center not only keep out the rain better,

Nine goes into 74 and leaves a difference. It's a mathematical fact. But is it still true at the Rusca Penitentiary for Women? With the partnership of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions, the Ministry of Justice, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation such a transformation is not only possible, but it is also fact. Nine detention spaces hosting from 30 to 80 women each have been re-designed into 74 rooms with two, three, four, or five beds. These and other renovations have brought the living standard in the penitentiary closer to European detention standards.

but also remind guards and employees that they are required to be professionals, to show dignity and respect both to themselves and to the prisoners. In September 2008, Moldovan Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii visited Rusca to observe the results of the cooperation between the Moldovan Government and its international partners to create better detention facilities for detainees.

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A better life in detention is possible at the prison for women in Rusca

The women detained in Rusca Penitentiary no.7, Hincesti district, are women first and then detainees. Toilets and showers used to be located outdoors, and during the winter season, it was not just the water that froze in taps, but also women that froze in their cells. Only diseases felt comfortable: hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS. Renovations by the national government were not scheduled until 2012-2015.

“It used to be absolutely different. It looks much better after the repairs,” one of the women prisoners noted, “Though I still want to go back home to my child. My mother is seriously ill.” She has already spent two and a half years here. She is going to stay for one more. She is just one of approximately 260 detained women who have witnessed, and applauded, the renovations supported by the Swiss Agency, which have made their lives just a little bit easier. Word of the conditions at the prison have even found their way onto Youtube in a video entitled “European conditions for female detainees at Rusca.” The changes can be felt from inside and outside the prison. The European Council presented a report in December 2008 listing the improvement of sanitary and security conditions at Rusca prison among its positive remarks: “Large dormitories used to lead to the lack of privacy for the detainees in their daily life, thus increasing the risk of intimidation and violence.” The Director General of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions, Vladimir Trofim, praised the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in February 2008 stating that it “has contributed immensely to the reconstruction of the building containing the living quarters at Rusca Penitentiary no.7.” Rehabilitation of all of the utility systems required coordinating many different engineering solutions as well as coordinating contributions from each of the partners, with wonderful results. Renovating the water supply necessitated drilling of a bore well and installment of a water storage tank. Solar batteries are now used to heat water for the laundry room and the summer shower. A drying room for the laundry was built at the same time. The kitchen and the canteen have been supplied with new equipment. Each of the partners, the Government of the Republic of Moldova, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Caritas Switzerland, and Caritas Luxemburg have much to be proud of.

“However, we still have much to do,” says Gheorghe Chirila, director of the prison, of the future of the only penitentiary for women in the country. Now that the prison can comply with the legislation on separating juvenile detainees from adults and providing adequate living conditions, the administration can focus on reeducation and re-socialization of the detainees. Renovations will continue inside and out – both of the institutions and the people.

RUSCA PENITENTIARY FOR WOMEN NO. 7, HINCESTI DISTRICT Total investments: 10,403,000 MDL / CHF 1' 084' 685 National partners: Department of Penitentiary Institutions, Ministry of Justice International partners: Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Luxemburg

“The renovations had a very positive effect over the life conditions of the detained women and contributed to making the social integration programmes that we have started to implement for the imprisoned persons even more efficient.” Gheorghe CHIRILA, Director of the Rusca prison for women

“One can see the changes that have taken place in recent years. Gradually, we manage to improve the detention conditions… The detainees we are in charge of should be treated with dignity.” Vitalie PIRLOG, Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova

“We have preserved everything,” says Ludmila Dovbenco, the head doctor of the institution as she shows how the renovations carried out in 2001 are still in good condition in 2009. She was still employed as a physician in 2001 when the reconstruction began. Her memories dredge up the awful things witnessed by the team from the SDC Rehabilitation Program who renovated on the hospital: “Damp walls with holes inside, rooms with bare cement walls, sewage systems that had fallen into such disrepair that it dripped from the ceiling instead,” recalls Dovbenco. In order to make the picture of the past complete, Eugenia Cucereavii, another physician of that time who is still working at the institution, adds: “There was no light in the corridors. In a word, it was horrible.”

“It was horrible for us,” the two physicians state, “let alone for the

patients.” When the renovation works started inside and outside the psycho-neurological hospital, along with light in the corridors, the sparkle of hope also appeared. One of the three accommodation buildings was comprehensively repaired: new internal water and sewer systems were put in, heating and electricity systems were installed, and the roof was replaced. The roofs of the other two buildings were repaired a year later, funded through the state budget.

Far from the village, far from the capital, and far from offering decent living conditions. In the recent past, these reference points described the daily existence of the residents at the Badiceni psycho-neurological hospital in the Soroca district. Now, the changes promoted by the hospital administration and the Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child and the renovations carried out by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have brought these patients closer to a normal life. The Badiceni hospital is just one more example that sustainable projects can be implemented in Moldova with modest resources.

The new director of the institution, Ion Gulica, has been on the move since the day of his appointment on September 1, 2008. His office is the only room that is not heated. “Why should it be, if I don't stay here for long?” He is always in motion. What did he begin with? “With making each of the employees responsible for

18-19 rehabilitation of hope

Too recently, too far in the past: a normal life approaches at Badiceni psychoneurological hospital

BADICENI PSYCHO-NEUROLOGICAL HOSPITAL, SOROCA DISTRICT Total investments: 952,000 MDL / CHF 99' 262 National Partner: Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child

their work – from the kitchen to the boiler room,” confessed the director. “We have 477 patients, male and female, from age 18 to the great age, till the end. They all need care and attention.” Some of them require drug treatment, others require activities that will help them regain their confidence and the feeling that they can win against the various locomotor or mental disorders with which they struggle. Badiceni hospital has seven hectares of farmland, of which, wheat has recently been sown on 4 hectares. The land isn't the only thing being cultivated. Other sectors that even the residents recognize are vital for them have begun to bear fruit: nutrition, health care, and leisure time activities. The two occupational therapy workshops also seem to be flourishing. Seven men assemble pieces of furniture, while seven women work in the tailoring workshop, making articles to be used at the hospital. Director Gulica advocates for opening the institution to the outside world: “I plead for having as many partners as possible. I'm participating in a seminar tomorrow organized at the psycho-neurological hospital in Cocieri. We can learn from each other, exchange experience. This is normal.” Thus, the residents approach living as normal a life as possible while they stay at the Badiceni institution, some for many years, until their great age.

The director knows that things could be a lot worse than outdated equipment. Both she and the other employees at the boarding school remember what the school was like before renovations began with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). “The 3rd floor was flooded so that we could not have classes,” says Plamadeala, who was deputy director at the time. Dr. Eudochia Mateuta says, “It was very difficult to focus on the health of children with musculoskeletal and mental disorders when we were constantly struggling with the living conditions.” The renovations, which range from building a boiler room that uses natural gas instead of coal, to donating some modern equipment, to replacing roofs, have been carried out as the director says “step by step” since 2001.

“We have never done just one thing in the institutions we assist. We have always done more,” states Thomas Kugler, director of SDC in Moldova. When the heating and water supply systems were replaced in all the buildings of the institution, an electronic water level control

Children from hobby groups knit the emblem of spring using red and white threads. Adult administrators at the boarding school prepare to advocate for the well-being of the 136 children who stay there. Each in their own way, both children and adults get ready for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Ialoveni boarding school for children with musculo-skeletal disorders. The school isn't the only thing that is 50 years old though. So is the physiotherapy apparatus that treats Pavlusha, Nastea, and Natalia at the moment.

20-21 rehabilitation of hope

Ialoveni boarding school for children with musculoskeletal disorders moves on

“We would like to change all this outdated equipment,” Indira Plamadeala, the director of the school, says of her short-term plans, “Nobody can repair such devices anymore and there are no spare parts. We have to be careful.” She adds, “We move forward step by step. Even if progress is slow, we certainly cannot abandon the children.”

system was also installed. SDC repaired the water tower while preserving its architectural character. When they replaced the roofs, they provided the warmth and comfort necessary for the children to study, socialize, and do their therapy sessions. The Ialoveni Boarding School also opened five vocational hobby groups for the children with the support of SDC. Due to the joint efforts made by the school administration and the Swiss Agency, not only the buildings have been rehabilitated, but also the hope for a better life. Thanks to the vocational training received at the school, children now have a profession when they graduate from secondary school. The hairdressing, flower arranging, art, and tailoring courses help the children to make their own way in life. To prepare for the upcoming celebration, some of the children are using the skills they learned in their class “Traditional Sewing and Embroidery.” Others knit the red and white emblems of spring. There is also a tradition of making and giving wishes at anniversaries, which is followed by the adults as well. The first and the most urgent wish of the director is to re-equip the rehabilitation center, followed by the construction of a greenhouse, and so on. Everything is for the benefit of the children: Pavlusha, Nastea, and Natalia from the treatment room, or Nadejda, Inga, and Cristina whose works are put up on the walls of the art room.


“We have neither plastered nor painted a single square meter at the Ialoveni Boarding School. We have repaired the technical systems,” Grigore Bordeianu, chief civil engineer, notes. The contribution of the Swiss Agency to the future of the children is clear from the look on Danu's face, one of the children, as he meets the guests smiling. And the head of the household, Ion Gandea, speaks about the boiler house as if it is a living person: “She is very good. We do not have problems with her.”

In 1992, the Branzeni psycho-neurological hospital became a hospital for adults instead of an institution for children with locomotor and mental disorders. About 292 patients reside there. About 30 of the residents were children in the previous hospital. Igor is one of them. He takes care of the cart, the horse and cattle, as well as of the greenhouse. Along with Mircea and several other people, he is part of the agricultural team headed by Tamara Gutu, who is head of the farm and chief agriculturist for the 22 hectares of arable land that belong to the hospital. She has been working at the hospital for eight years and has noticed that patients feel better and “are willing to do some work in order to feel that they are useful, that they are capable.”

“It all started when the Swiss

In order to meet the consumer needs of the institution and, at the same time, create opportunities for occupational re-habilitation, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) contributed to the construction of a greenhouse, a small cattle and swine breeding farm, a mushroom growing facility, and a tailoring workshop.

came,” says Petru Bucearski, the director of Branzeni psychoneurological hospital. “We do what there is still to do by ourselves,” claims the director, Managers of other Moldovan whose top priority for the near future is to replace the ventilation social institutions, where the system in the kitchen. The other systems – heating, water supply, Swiss Agency for Development sewage, and electricity – are all in good condition, having just been installed by the SDC Rehabilitation Programme a couple of years and Cooperation (SDC) has ago. carried out rehabilitation programmes say almost identical things. They all paint similar pictures of how terrible things were before SDC renovated their facilities and programmes. Descriptions coincide as well, with small variations: “serious,” “it was awful,” “nothing could be done.” Every director also points out that the renovations were a joint effort. Now, at the institutions in Cocieri, Bender, Tiraspol, Badiceni, and Branzeni hope has begun to flourish just like plants in the greenhouse which was also built with the support of the Swiss Agency.

22-23 rehabilitation of hope

Hope flourishes like a plant in the greenhouse at Branzeni psychoneurological hospital

In 2003, according to the director, Petru Bucearski, the Branzeni hospital in Edinet district “was a disaster. The rooms were in such a condition that patients stayed in corridors.” The roofs, windows, doors, facades, lavatories, and interior renovations, as well as the water, sewer, heating, and electrical systems have been installed or replaced as emergency actions. Now, the new and the old co-exist quite well. Although, increasingly, the new things take the place of the old things, just like the new water tower has taken over the duties of the old one.

Life continues on and has brought other changes for patients as well. Svetlana got married, left the hospital, and gave birth to a child. Another girl called Svetlana has changed her life and now also has a family and a child. “Tolea and Valentina have been together for about six years. Serioja has a fiance, too. I think they are going to get married,” the director says. Renovations don't cause weddings or children, but they do inspire confidence, self-worth, and hope that life can be good, can be happy, can be normal. When saying: “We have been saved”, Director Bucearski is not referring just to the Branzeni hospital's emergency car, but to how much the support of the Swiss Agency has influenced life at the institution in recent years.

BRANZENI PSYCHO-NEUROLOGICAL HOSPITAL, EDINET Total investments: 5,261,000 MDL / CHF 548' 547 National partner: Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child

Running to win in the gym of the Glinjeni lyceum

The pupils of Glinjeni lyceum are distinguishing themselves at both the district and national levels. “First place, third place...”, Natalia Caslaru, deputy director for education, specifies, in sports such as tennis, basketball, football, and others, also in competitions like “Happy Mark,” and “Hour of Triumph,” and in extracurricular activities and community initiatives. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has its own place in this veritable Hall of Fame since it renovated the school's assembly hall and gym where all the achievements have been won. “It is good for all of us – pupils and teachers. We have benefited tremendously from this programme,” says Caslaru, who has been deputy director for over ten years.

On the last Sunday of February, the assembly hall of the lyceum hosted the traditional Graduates' Reunion. Many of the graduates remember what the assembly hall and the gym used to look like. Some of the them grew so fond of sports that they decided to make it their profession. Axenia Podrea and Vadim Prodan are continuing their studies in physical education at Chisinau Pedagogical University. Most pupils come to the new gym to exercise, to socialize, and to have fun. But whether in sports, extracurricular activities, or academic competitions, clearly the pupils of Glinjeni are running to win.

Education and physical training have made progress in recent years at the theoretical lyceum of Glinjeni, in the district of Falesti. After the renovation of the assembly hall and gym, wonder of wonders, children seem to enjoy doing and achieving more there. Renovated changing rooms give the pupils more privacy when they dress for gym. The renovated classrooms provide a warmer and more comfortable space in which to live and learn. The children know it. Adults confirm it.


Agenţia Elveţiană pentru Dezvoltare și Cooperare SDC

Rehabilitation of hope for a better life  

Rehabilitation of hope for a better life - The Programme of Rehabilitation of Social Institutions of the Swiss Agency for Development and Co...

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