How fire spreads: Determination within Moldova’s young activist community
May 27, 2024

How fire spreads: Determination within Moldova’s young activist community

Moldova is a small slice of land in Eastern Europe, nestled between Romania and Ukraine. It is a beautiful and vibrant country, filled with picturesque nature and wholesome traditions. But what makes it truly special is the tight-knit young activist community working at its core to improve our society and make it a brighter place. 

The thing about us Moldovans is that if we start something, we are not likely to stop halfway. That is why the most active people in our community are all friends, or at least we know each other, and we all compete, pushing ourselves constantly beyond our comfort zones. 

My initiation meeting in the YEAs’ programme was very much a fever dream. I entered the room, and everybody seemed familiar. I found myself saying things like “Have I seen you before?” and “Weren’t you at that reception at the ambassador’s residence?” Lots of people kept coming up to me, asking me how I was doing, all while I sat there and desperately tried to understand where they knew me from and why their faces were so familiar. And while it was a disorienting experience, it was not an uncommon one. 

We are people of all ages, beliefs and ideals, and we work tirelessly to make Moldova a brighter place for future generations. From promoting equality and sustainability, to combatting discrimination and corruption, we all support each other in the areas in which we choose to work. Because we are such an active group, our work often intersects and we collaborate on projects and events, helping each other grow and pushing each other forward. 

When I had questions about how event sponsorship worked, I had someone to call to help me. When I was afraid about a project I had taken on, I knew who to call to reassure me. And when I got a call asking desperately for help to organise an event, I answered. 

All of us in this community are united by our hopes, fears and dreams. We are all at different levels of experience, but that is what makes this so beautiful. We share knowledge and we embrace collaboration. We often compete with each other for the same opportunities, applying for the same programmes and organising similar events. We are not, however, discouraged by each other’s successes, but rather consider each individual win as one for the entire community. 

I remember there was one time when me and my friend, Amelia, who is also a YEA, were both applying for two very different scholarships. We completed the applications and wrote the letters of intent over facetime, giving each other advice on what to edit and what to remove completely. I really wanted to get accepted to study in the States for a year, while she was applying to a private school here in Moldova. In the end, we each got accepted into the programme the other one wanted. We were very happy for each other’s success, and while it may not have been the expected outcome, it was still an incredible achievement for both of us.

The entire community of young active people in Moldova is very lucky to have the support of everyone around us, including each other. While competition is usually seen as an isolating process, we use it as a tool to advance as a group. Seeing incredibly talented people motivates us to rise even further, which creates a vacuum of progress. There are a lot of youth organisations in Moldova, especially in the capital, and they often have similar project concepts. One group came up with the idea of doing an open mic night for rising singers, and another developed it into a poetry and music and painting night for all young artists who wanted to express themselves. In this way, we bounce ideas off one another and every little progress one of us makes is fuel to someone else’s fire to fly even further.

Despite the challenges we face, we remain determined to create a better future for our country. Through our passion, dedication and tireless efforts, we are challenging the status quo, amplifying marginalised voices and building a more just, equitable and sustainable society. As Moldova continues its path towards the EU, the activist community here will play an instrumental role in shaping a brighter tomorrow.

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