The International Labour Organization has “sweetened” the life of many Causeni residents
02 September 2021
“It’s a Miracle of God what happened to us", exclaims Mother Susana when she talks about the Monastery's apiary.
Due to severe weather conditions, practically, all the bee families of the Monastery apiary perished this spring. Consequently, the 60 nuns and the 55 young girls of the Theological Seminary were left without one of the most important food of their daily menu: honey. Honey is also a secure source of income for them, vital for the monastery, which at present is in construction. Moreover, the monastery has also been severely affected by the pandemic crisis.
The monastery “Marta and Maria” has started its missionary activity not long ago. Their church "The Shroud of God’s Mother" is too small for the crowd of Christians coming to pray. That is why, a few years ago, the community of nuns laid down the foundation of a Cathedral. Accordingly, all the money earned from the sale of products grown around the monastery, including the sale of honey, has been invested in the construction of the Cathedral and used for landscaping. The Monastery is a welcoming host for pilgrims from Moldova and abroad, so it was important for the community to renovate it.
The help to save the Monastery's apiary came just in time and from where they least expected. The Head Mother found out from the leader of the local Beekeepers' Association about a project launched by the International Labour Organization (ILO) within the Local Employment Partnership (LEP) in the Causeni district for the development of beekeeping business.
After long hesitations, the four nuns, in charge of the monastery's apiary, submitted the documents for the business plans competition and followed all the necessary steps. They were pleasantly surprised to find out that they are among the 25 selected beneficiaries and that they will get 10 beehives and as many bee families for free. Furthermore, the nuns of the monastery participated in a training in beekeeping and entrepreneurship, were helped to improve their business plans, to register their business and to obtain the necessary sanitary-veterinary certificates and passports for the apiary. That means they will be able to sell the honey abroad, too. This is particularly important for them, as previously they had to miss several opportunities because of the lack of the necessary documents.
Even though Mother Susana has a lot of experience in beekeeping, she says the training was very useful. It encouraged them to review some bee care practices and contemplate diversifying the honey products.
Over the time, the nuns intend to multiply their 40 bee families, enlarge the apiary and create at least two jobs, so says their business plan. This doesn't seem difficult to them, since they already have a solid foundation: 40 modern hives and as many Carpathian bee families.
Mother Susana claims they have high hopes in relation to beekeeping: “We plan to invest the money earned from the sale of honey in equipment that would facilitate our work and allow us to diversify the bee products., In time we intend to procure a milk processing machine and other equipment for the monastery's bakery”. She continued: “I believe it is t not in vain the God has opened new horizons for us and offered us this opportunity. The Monastery has all the settings needed for the production of organic honey. It is located in a picturesque place in the middle of the forest and has a rich melliferous base”. She thinks that without the ILO assistance, it would have been much more difficult to revive the monastery's apiary on its own. "I think this project has "sweetened" the lives of many people in our district," says Mother Susana.
Business development in beekeeping is one of the most active initiatives of the Local Employment Partnership (LEP) in Causeni. "Within the LEP, we identified beekeeping as one of the income-generating sectors for inactive young people, the informally employed, the unemployed, returning migrants and others who have been affected by the pandemic. In addition to the complex assistance offered in launching a beekeeping business, all 25 beneficiaries will be further mentored by the local Beekeepers' Association to increase the honey production and the number of bee families", says Violeta Vrabie, the ILO coordinator of the project "Reactivating Social Dialogue for an Effective Response to COVID -19 in Moldova and applying it to job creation through Local Employment Partnerships".
Launched at the end of current February, the Causeni LEP aims to create and formalize 145 jobs, launch 60 start-ups in sectors with a job creation potential, such as beekeeping, agricultural product processing and the creative industry. This LEP also aims to support the growth of 50 small and micro enterprises. The project budget is approximately USD 146,500. The ILO provides support in the amount of USD130, 000, out of which over US $ 80,000 is provided by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) from the Austrian Development Cooperation funds.