Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Hora Din Moldova

This is the entrance to the city of Chisinau (pronounced Keesh-ee-now), the capital of Europe's poorest country, Moldova. Moldova is sandwiched in between Romania (a member of the European Union since 2007) and the Ukraine (Europe's largest country with the exception of Russia).

Moldova used to be known as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova until it declared itself independent in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The official language here is Romanian, however Russian is still prominent and is still part of everyday life here in Moldova. In fact, there is a region in the east of Moldova, called Transnistria, which declared itself independent of Moldova in 1992. You need your passport to enter Transnistria if you are a foreigner and it is described as 'the closest you will get to a living example of Soviet Union life on earth'. They only speak Russian there and they really want to be part of Russia again. It's a very contentious issue as the Moldovans don't want to let it go. It won't be resolved in the near future but it's a big factor regarding Moldova's accession to the European Union.

I came to Moldova on October 13 2010 as Country Manager for Hospices of Hope, a UK based charity which establishes and supports Hospices throughout Eastern Europe. Hospice Casa Sperantei is one of the top 3 charities in Romania and has been established for 17 years. They have a working hospice in the mountain city of Brasov and also work out of Romania's capital city, Bucharest, where they visit patients at home to provide them with palliative care. According to the World Health Organisation, palliative care is:

'an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual'. 


In Chisinau, Hospices of Hope works with Hospice Angelus Moldova, a charitable foundation based in Chisinau, and I have come here to help the charity become sustainable by gaining support from local businesses and government agencies. Since 2000, Hospice Angelus has worked with almost 1000 patients and provided them with the care that they need to ensure that they suffer the least possible amount of pain in their last few months, weeks or days. In Moldova, once you are diagnosed as terminal and the hospital decides that they cannot assist you anymore, they send you home to die. We get most of our referrals from these hospitals and we provide FREE home care to those we can help. Our medical staff visit adults and children around Chisinau every day and we have recently started a project in a couple of rural areas of Moldova. 

We already have some high profile supporters but we are always needing more help. Another thing I would like to do is to get support from my friends and family in the UK and around the world through fundraising events that YOU can stage. Your time, dedication and help will be appreciated and you can follow our fundraising events by visiting our Facebook page here and when you get there, click 'Like'.

Thanks for joining me on the blog. I already have lots to tell about this brilliant country and the work I have already been privileged to be involved in but that can wait. I will post again soon.


  1. wow - that's a tough job you got there John - look forward to reading more about your blog.. can you get by in English ok... are they friendly - always imagine these former Soviet places to be a bit depressed

  2. Every time I read Chisinau I have to go back to your phonetic description - it just won't stick!