Natalia Pruteanu: “ILO project will help me become master of my life”

After 13 years of marriage, Natalia Pruteanu from Causeni city, put an end to domestic violence.

After 13 years of marriage, Natalia Pruteanu from Causeni city, put an end to domestic violence.  She broke the vicious circle after a period of physical and verbal violence she was subjected to together with her five children.  She felt she had no strength to resist nor saw any hope for a change.  Episodes of violence became more frequent and more violent.  Being guided by the social assistant of the town, Natalia turned to help at the “Pro Familia” Maternal Centre. 

For eight months, the Maternal Centre became a warm and welcoming home for her and her children.  In addition to shelter, she benefited from psychological counselling and legal assistance for issuing the protection order against her husband and initiation of the divorce process. Natalia also benefited from a social package that included food and hygiene products, needed for her and the children.   “This period was for me like a breath of fresh air and a chance to heal my wounds.  Otherwise, I don’t think I have would escaped from the hands of my husband, neither me nor my children.  Even after the divorce, he continued to threaten me and told me that I have no other choice than to return home”, she explains. 

 At present, Natalia, at the age of 34, lives with her children in an old house, crammed together with her elderly brother and sick parents. Nevertheless, it is not the small living space that was the most difficult for her, but the fear of her violent husband and the lack of perspectives.  With an allowance of approximately 3000 lei, she makes both ends meet only with difficulty.  At the end of this year, when the youngest member of the family will reach three years of age, she will be deprived of this source of income.  The Coronavirus pandemic has made her life even harder: “Since the online learning was introduced, I have to share a phone among two schoolchildren, and the phone being an old model crashed periodically.  Older children have no place where to do their homework in peace and quiet, because we all stay in one room”, the woman tells us. 

At the moment, Natalia has no other source of income than the children’s allowance and no job to earn a living. After graduation from high school, she worked part-time in construction, at first in Moldova, then seasonally in Russia. Now she has no possibility to go to work abroad due to COVID-19 restrictions and because her small children cannot be left alone.  Despite developing some skills in construction, she does not have qualifications in the field nor the necessary set of tools that would get her employed with proper documents or enable to work on her own. 

Despite the difficulties, Natalia believes that life has just begun and that she will be able to raise her children with dignity. The newly found confidence comes from the opportunities offered by a project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) with the financial assistance of the Austrian Development Agency from the funds of Austrian Development Cooperation. 

Natalia wants to start a business that  provides services in the field of construction. Thanks to this project, together with 10 other women in difficult life situations, she will benefit from a complete package of assistance. She will benefit from an entrepreneurship training, legal assistance for business registration and receive equipment needed for her business activity. Once the business is launched, she will have a stable job at home, will pay the social security contributions and benefit from a health insurance policy. 

“Repairing and renovating houses is all I know to do best of all. If before it was hard to find work because I didn’t have the necessary qualifications and equipment, now I think I will have more orders and opportunities. I will be able to do the work much faster and earn a better income, while being at home, together with the children”, says Natalia Pruteanu. She recognizes that she had never dreamed of being so lucky but she believes that this project is a reward for all the troubles that she went through. I will help fulfil her biggest dream – to become the master of her own life.  

UN entities involved in this initiative
International Labor Organization