A struggling widow and her three children received much-needed help to get through the harsh Moldovan winter.

“I had to finish what he started”

It's been three winters since Ecaterina's husband died of cancer. 

Winter in Moldova is a tough time for people living in poverty. Seasonal work dries up, and there are far fewer opportunities to earn a living. At the same time, the cost of heating and electricity soars – and people like Ecaterina can feel as though they're drowning in troubles.

Ecaterina, 42, lives in a village in Moldova with her seven-year-old son, Sebastian, and her four-year-old twins, Alina and Carolina. The family lives in one room – on one side, there is a small kitchen, and next to it, the bed where the children sleep. Three laundry lines are suspended above the heating stove, with clothes hanging from them. Over the years, the house has sunk on one side due to weak walls and structural problems.

Ecaterina has done her best to take care of the house after losing her husband. She said, "Three years ago, when Vanea, my husband, was still alive, he started repairing the walls of this old and damaged house that belonged to our parents. When his health worsened and he wasn't able to do it anymore, I had to finish what he started. I bought cement, mixed it with some sand we had at home, and plastered the rest of the wall outside myself.

"Thanks to the little support I received from the state after Vanea's death, I managed to replace the windows. Before that, you could feel the wind blowing inside the house and the curtains fluttering."

Ecaterina earns some money doing seasonal work for local farmers in spring. "In winter, I do some cleaning work at a village store, but this doesn't cover all our needs," she added.

The family is enrolled in Mission Without Borders's family sponsorship program – and as well as receiving practical support, they are also visited regularly by Pavel, the MWB family worker.

Today, they were delighted when Pavel arrived at their home with briquettes for the winter and warm winter coats and boots for the children. The children were overjoyed, and Sebastian immediately put his shoes and jacket on. 

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"OK, tomorrow I'm going to school like this!" the little boy said happily, running through the yard.

"He says that from today onwards, he will only wear this coat," said Ecaterina. "I don't remember the last time my children got something new." 

Sebastian has a long walk to school every day because it's at the other end of the village – but he's no longer worried about freezing on his way there.

The twins, Alina and Carolina, also excitedly put on their new coats and boots and began running around. The children's lively energy filled the gloomy yard with joy on this cold, muddy day. 

I don't remember the last time my children got something new.


Ecaterina said, "We can keep our home warm now, thanks to these briquettes that Pavel brought us. Sometimes, I still buy some firewood to light the fire or use twigs from the vineyard if any are left, but the briquettes keep the embers burning for a long time.

They save us and make our home warm enough for the three coldest months of the winter. This way, I have enough money for school and kindergarten."

Pavel said, "The winter support that we offer through the Mission is very appreciated by families in poverty; it helps them get through the harsh wintertime.

"In the Hincesti community where this family lives, 30 percent of the families I support on the family sponsorship program are single-parent ones. They are particularly vulnerable and don't know how they would manage without our help. They have no income and need an outside source, especially as prices have risen so high and there's a cost of living crisis in all the communities of Moldova. 

"The Mission is a helping hand and a blessing that comes to them in these times, and thus they understand what care and love towards them means."

With your support, we can make a difference in the lives of single mothers like Ecatering and their children. Will you join us?



Give hope and dignity.