Away from home, but volunteers

According to official estimates, more than a quarter of the workforce of Moldova currently lives and works abroad. Although migrants are a major source of income for the domestic economy, it is considered that massive exodus of people hinders the overall development of the country, and rural communities in particular.

However, migrants from several Moldovan settlements have proven that migration and volunteering may be combined to the benefit of hometowns.

Tatiana Manoli, a girl from Colibasi village (Cahul district), a soon-to-be architect, says that her home village offered her personal development opportunities and an adequate education. In spite of this, she went abroad with big plans for her career in architecture.

Many Moldovans like Tatiana who went abroad are homesick and get involved in many volunteering activities for the communities back home.

“Whenever I am away from home, I am overwhelmed with homesickness and returning home is the most beautiful and emotional moment for me. I left my home village, but it’s time for me to help it with the skills and expertise I have gathered”, says Tatiana.

This summer, Tatiana spent full 8 working days of her short vacation on creating an architectural plan of the community centre to serve the inhabitants of the village for various purposes.

Local authorities and inhabitants of Colibasi discuss the design of the community centre

Her contribution came in handy, because the local mayor’s office has had the idea for long to create an adequate space well planned to involve local inhabitants in different sports activities, such as: football, mini-footballs/volleyball, basketball (indoor and outdoor), dances, fitness, etc. The total project cost was estimated to make up over 88,000 USD.

The architectural plan of the community centre developed by Tatiana Manoli

To achieve a more efficient collaboration of the locality with inhabitants scattered all over the world, in May of 2016, the Association of Colibasi villagers was established, and the creation of the Community Sports Centre is one of the medium-term priorities included in the Action Plan of the Association.

“This project is to be implemented, mostly by volunteers and funded by donations from the villagers that work abroad. We have even made a short movie for information and assured greater transparency about this project”, says Cornel Inje, the President of the Association,

Colibasi village is a beneficiary of the Migration and Local Development Project (MiDL), alongside other 25 Moldovan villages. The project is implemented by UNDP Moldova with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Moldova.

In order to foster the interest of the diaspora, a local program for temporary return was also was launched. Representatives of the diaspora are assisted to return for short periods in their home settlements to transfer good practices, bring new ideas, experiences and skills gained in the countries of their destinations.

“Villagers who went abroad are an important source of development for our communities. This opportunity is valuable given that the local budget is limited, and qualified workforce is almost missing”, said Ion Dolganiuc, mayor of Colibasi village.

This is just one examples that proves that migration and volunteering for ones’ home community are compatible and can produce significant impact.

The implementation of similar projects can contribute to the development of each village individually and the country in general, since the Moldovan migrants are a valuable resource and they are willing to get involved in volunteering activities at HOME.


  • More than 100 projects and local initiatives have already been implemented in the last six months since the creation of the Associations of Villagers in the 25 villages that are part of MiDL project.
  • The main areas of interventions of the projects implemented by the associations of natives are: social (25%), educational (40%), cultural (15%) and land management (20%).
  • More than 5,000 children benefited from these initiatives, including from scholarships offered by migrants (54 children), support for school supplies (45 children); as well as the elderly - in the form of material aid and assistance.