Radu Danii, National Program Officer, Migration and Development, Swiss Cooperation Office Chisinau, Moldova
The residents of Basarabeasca, capital of one of the southern districts of Moldova, were quite astonished to see a floral shop opening in their small town one summer day. They were even more surprised to learn that the shop was run by a family from their town who had returned home after twelve years of working abroad. “I was very surprised too, but I am so happy that my dream came true after so many years,” confessed Vera Craciun, the 41 year-old owner of the shop.
Vera is one of 44 000 Moldovans who have returned home after working abroad for more than a year since 1992. Currently about 370 000 Moldovans (11% of the population) work abroad as long-term labour migrants, with 59% intending to return permanently to Moldova. While another 56 000 Moldovans intend to pack their bags and seek their fortune abroad, Vera and her husband returned home and in less than one month had set up a profitable business.
“When we decided to come home I still had worries about opening my small business. I had no idea on how to begin, what legal procedures I needed to follow to register a company, how to open a bank account, or where to go for tax and social registrations. I am sure that my dream would have not come true so quickly without the thorough and kind help from the Cahul NEXUS Service Centre,” said Ms. Craciun.
Vera heard about the NEXUS Service Centre in Cahul from a short news video on a local web portal popular among Moldovan migrants. Vera was impressed and decided to visit the centre. “There, at NEXUS, I received not only the information and guidance I needed, but they actually accompanied me to the Registration Chamber and other public institutions dealing with business registration. I expect it would have taken me months, and far beyond the peak period of flowers, to complete the registration process without the help of NEXUS,” she said.
NEXUS in Cahul is one of three pilot centres in district towns opened in February 2014 as part of the broader NEXUS Moldova initiative. The fourth flagship centre in the capital Chisinau was launched in December, 2014, along with the online virtual service centre www.nexusnet.md.
The NEXUS Service Centres, along with their partners from the public, private and civil society sectors, provide a broad range of useful information and quality services for its clients. NEXUS clients are Moldovans interested in labour migration and related issues; that is, people intending to leave to find work outside Moldova, those already working abroad and those who have returned. NEXUS also helps members of migrant families, like children left at home, parents, other relatives or even neighbours taking care of migrant family members.
”Since the migration phenomenon is so prevalent in our society, migrants are too often perceived negatively. We at the NEXUS Service Centre are working to change this perception by offering relevant services to those who have decided to go abroad for a job, helping them prepare for taking this important step in their lives, or to those who have returned and want to reintegrate efficiently back into their home community. Vera is a very good example of the latter and we are proud of what she has accomplished,” explained Carolina Cartofeanu, Director of NEXUS Cahul.
Only a couple of months have passed since launching their floral business and Vera and her husband are already planning to expand their business into floral decorations and flower delivery. They are not sure what resources and skills they will need to succeed at this, but at least they are sure where they will go for advice.