Moldova Acted

How Olga, Ukrainian refugee, became a draughts champion in Moldova

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a devastating impact on the country. Among other consequences, it damaged public infrastructure, residential areas, and health facilities. Since February 2022, over 970,000 people have crossed the border from Ukraine into Moldova in search of safety and protection. By the end of October 2023, over 113,000 of them remained in Moldova, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

With financial support from the European Union, the “PLACE” Consortium, which consists of Acted, REACH (a joint initiative of IMPACT Initiatives, the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT)), People in Need, and the Norwegian Refugee Council, aims to guarantee inclusion and to lessen social tensions by providing emergency aid in Moldova both to Ukrainian refugees and to vulnerable Moldovans. Olga, who told us her story, is one of the persons who have received this help.

Receiving cash for rent assistance in Moldova: Olga’s Story

Olga, a receiver of cash for help with her draughts board

Olga is a 39-year-old woman from Ukraine and a mother of a 18-year-old boy. After the escalation of the war in Ukraine, Olga and her son moved to an apartment in Chișinău, in Moldova. As Olga is visually impaired, her main income is currently coming from a disability pension with additional support from her brother.

Before seeking refuge in Moldova, Olga’s life was set in Odesa. Her educational journey was unique, as she attended a boarding school designed for visually impaired and blind children. She continued her education, earning two bachelor’s degrees and further contributed to her community by assisting children with homework and working as a babysitter.

Despite the hurdles, Olga’s strategic mind found comfort and passion in the draughts game since 2013. She improved her skills, eventually competing on the national, European, and global stages. Representing Moldova, her triumph at the I.D.C.D. World Draughts-100 Disabilities Championship was a testament to her skill and tenacity. However, her victory brought her no financial gain or accommodation — a reward often offered to champions. Nevertheless, Olga remains grateful for the recognition and for the support she receives, including the support from Acted Moldova, which assists her in paying the rent.

My participation in 'PLACE’ project has made me feel freer and more integrated into Moldovan society.


Olga tells her story to Acted's staff

As Olga continues to navigate her new life in Moldova, her story is one of inspiration and courage. She stands as a remarkable figure, not just across the draughts board but also in the grander game of life, where she continues to make strategic moves that defy her circumstances. Her recommendation to our organisation is simple yet profound: “Keep doing what you are doing in the same spirit! More help means more grateful hearts!”

At Acted, we're inspired by Olga's resilience and are reminded of the difference our work makes in the lives of people like her. Olga's journey is a clear call for Acted and its partners to continue our mission and provide support to those in need.

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