We met last night for two hours with the volunteer coordinator and student volunteers from Winrock International. Winrock is an NGO here in Moldova, committed to providing new perspectives to women, alerting at-risk young women about the dangers of human-trafficking, and offering them alternatives through business and entrepreneurial courses. This is all extremely relevent to the Yearn to Learn vision.
Aliona Avetisean is the volunteer coordinator there who makes this all happen. She arranged for us to speak with the core group of volunteers last night, informally, and to find out how they each got involved with the program. It provided us a unique opportunity to see how a successful, well-organized, and dedicated group of young volunteers can truly change lives in Eastern Europe. With limited resources, Winrock travels throughout Moldova and conducts seminars (“discussions”) with at-risk young women, often from villages and vocational schools that are easy targets for traffickers. They each have their own story of how they got involved, but it’s inspiring to see the gratification they find in making a difference in their own country, with people their same age. They come from a variety of academic backgrounds, and lead busy lives outside of Winrock, pursuing their own endevours. But they commit themselves to learning about the dangers of human-trafficking, basic economics and business principles, and they even started their own t-shirt business to gain experience when helping other youth in Moldova!
Although each of them are acutely aware of Moldova’s societal problems (1/4th of the population lives outside the country due to a lack of employment opportunities within Moldova) and government corruption, Winrock volunteers represent the very best of what Moldova has to offer. We were honored to hear their insights and feel a renewed sense of hope and optimism about the future here, as well as the possibilities in store for Yearn to Learn!