Update for MAD-Aid program – Phoenix Centre

Has been a long time since we came with any updates – How are we doing? How are the children at Phoenix doing?


Well, MAD-Aid has been very busy alongside its partners for last year:


  • Recycling and delivering wheelchairs
  • Running Phoenix Centre that provided so much needed services for disabled children
  • Becoming a member of Accessible for All Campaign, building of new date of base for people with disability in 2 districts of Moldova, 200 people have been evaluated and a case put together.
  • Got 3 children at Phoenix sponsored – more sponsors needed!
  • Offering training for staff and parents
  • Continuing the partnership with CWUHA and assisting with humanitarian convoys to Moldova
  • Introducing the fundraising concept in Moldova


Much more information you can find on our new website, please give us any feedback and input how we can improve it! We just launched it, and you are first one to know!


Thank you very much for yours continue to support, so much needed to keep the services going.

Moldova it is in even more financial difficulty so the centre is running only from fundraising events and donations from our supporters.

HM British Ambasador running for Phoenix Centre

Ambassador Words:

On Sunday 17 April I ran the 10.5 km race as part of this year’s Chisinau marathon. My target was to complete the course in less than one hour. It was closer than I expected – 59 mins and 59 seconds! It’s a good job I sprinted at the end!

Running for the Phoenix Centre, Riscani
MAD-Aid is a charity based in the Isle of Wight which helps children with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova to gain mobility and access to education.

Last year,  MAD-Aid transformed part of a disused activity centre in the northern town of Riscani into a modern daycare centre for children with disabilities. Your sponsorship of me in last year’s Chisinau marathon, contributed to that amazing achievement and the centre opened last September in the presence of the Moldova Prime Minister and over 30 volunteers from the UK.

MAD-Aid is now raising funds for the children’s playground with rubber floor and artificial grass. I would like to contribute by raising money for a special wheelchair swing so that for the first time these amazing children can experience that simple thrill that most of us take for granted and first experienced as young children.

You can find more about the Phoenix Centre in this short video:

MAD-Aid is it very great full for HM Ambassador of Great Britain to Moldova, Phil Batson for raising money towards Phoenix Centre.
He managed with some of your help to raise 75% of his target, we still can help him reached 100%!

Sponsor Now!

Happy New Year

What A year has been for MAD-Aid and for each of us involved in it!

As Nelson Mandala says, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”. What we will be remembered for, it’s not going to be a number of iPhones we owned or a number of sports cars in our garage. The thing we will be remembered for is the legacy behind us, the number of people’s lives we made the difference.

Alongside our partners, we certainly have made a difference and transformed people’s lives in 2015. From a small charity organisation that collected and delivered redundant equipment, we embarked on life changing project. A project that is transforming radically the lives of children with disabilities and their families, a project that is changing the community approach on volunteering, a project that educates the society about disability and the hidden potential in the forgotten/ isolated children.
MAD-Aid achievements during 2015:

  • Continued recycling and delivering so much needed wheelchairs, walking frames and other specialised equipment
  • Delivered medical aid to Neuro hospital in Chisinau, trauma hospital and oncology hospital
  • Reached around 1000 children from vulnerable families who received clothes, school stationeries, school bags, shoes, food and household items from south to north of Moldova.
  • Opened first Day centre in north of Moldova for children with disabilities
  • Open the first Early Intervention Centre in North of Moldova to provide non-medical therapies for children with disabilities 0-5 years old
  • Created local employment in the region with high unemployment rate
  • Provided the furniture and equipment for the Community Center in Mihaileni Riscani, and provided consultancy on setting up an accessible modern facility for elderly people
  • Continued working on forming more partnerships in order to Make the Difference in Moldova and Romania
  • Adhering to Accessible for All campaign to lobby the correct infrastructure in Moldova for building of accessibility facility such as ramps, disabled bathrooms and so on
  • Welcomed Mr. Iurii Bivol as new trustee
  • Receiving the Moldova State Award: Medal for “Civic Merit” for all the work MAD-Aid contributed in Moldova.

All these projects are coming with its own challenges, and especially the sustainability and continuity of our work.
As soon as we opened the centre, we adopted its beneficiaries, the children that have been isolated and abandoned for years.
At this time of the year when every child is waiting for Father Christmas and when the magic of the lights is giving hope and determination, we asked the children to write their first letter to santa.
Their responses made me shake literally, as every child older than 11 wanted just one thing: Phoenix never to be closed and to allow them to attend the centre. I want them to be children, I want them to want to have a toy, cars and sweets, but instead, they wanted this social inclusion we offering at the centre…This inclusion should be their birth rights, not a privilege we offering.  After persuading them to ask for an object we got some little wishes, a small car, a bus, some sweets and one child want an Angel which would keep him safe.
Please join us on this live transformation projects, please be the Father Christmas for these children and help us keeping the Phoenix Open.  You still have time to Make a Difference in 2015 or to mark a day in the calendar for 2016 where you can change someone life.

As 2016 is coming, and the light of hope is filling our heart, MAD-Aid wishes you a happy, healthy, prosperous year ahead, a year that you will remember and cherish forever, a year that you will be remembered for.


Wheelchairs in motion!

Things can move fast sometimes. We were contacted by our transport company on 30th October. “We have an empty lorry” they said. “Can we take a load for you?” We negotiated a great deal, and a consignment of wheelchairs was shipped off on 1 November!

Over one hundred and fifty wheelchairs are now in Moldova awaiting allocation to the people who need them. They include adult self-propelling wheelchairs, pictured here, electric wheelchairs, and some special child-sized chairs.

One young lady asked for a special colour, and we did our best. Here is her yellow chair.

wheelchairs secured on the lorry.

December 3rd – a landmark day

December 3rd is the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We are so pleased to have been able to transport the chairs and make them available for that day. Victoria is now in Moldova and will be updating the blog as we launch our wheelchair campaign in Moldova.

Our thanks as always to our volunteers, the oldest of whom is 86 this Christmas. Watch this space for more news.

From Young to Old

Children with disabilities are at the heart of our charity, but if we can we do not say NO to anyone. Wheelchairs from Southampton Hospice help Moldovan veterans.

When we visited Moldova after our last delivery we had a group with World War II veterans approach us with tears in their eyes, looking for help for their fellows with no legs or who cannot walk anymore.

What could we say?

The wheelchairs donated to us by Southampton Hospice went straight to them. There are so few of them left in a country like Moldova. They were on the front line with the Russians, but now they are forgotten in small villages around the country.

Vasile is so happy at 91 years of age to be able to have a wheelchair and a new stick for his friend.

In Riscani district we have 47 veterans, in Moldova, there are still about 7000 from World War II and from the Civil War.

We now have over 100 wheelchairs to be delivered to children with disabilities and to adults like Vasile, enabling them to see the day not just from the house window but from the yard.
A right, not a privilege

The inclusion by the society of all people with disabilities is a birth right not a privilege or a lottery managed by us. We do hope that the charity will change the lives of many people with disabilities and contribute in some way of changing society’s attitude to them.

In my view, the children are our FUTURE but these adults are people thanks to whom we are where we are today.

Second load reaches Moldova

Our second lorry load of equipment arrived in Moldova on Wednesday 26th June. This time we are delivering to our own secure warehouse, leased free by Riscani Council and managed by our local team at Moldova Aid. Hospitals and clinics can collect equipment, and we have good stock control. Once again, huge thanks to all our volunteers, both in the UK and in Moldova, who worked late into the night to load and unload.

The load included a variety of equipment. Bedside cabinets have been taken apart and flat-packed in the UK to make them easier to transport and store. Wheelchairs were again part of the mix, some being delivered on behalf of Child Aid, who have contributed considerably to the cost of the run.

Dentist Chair

New to this shipment was dental surgery equipment from dentists on the Isle of Wight who have recently upgraded their surgeries. Nothing goes to waste.

Belated Happy Anniversary to our trustee

MAD-Aid would like to say a Very Happy Golden anniversary to our trustee John Barnes and his lovely wife Ann.

Ann and John had 2 lovely Golden Wedding parties and raised about £ 300.00 towards MAD-Aid’s next shipment. Thanks, John and Ann, and our good wishes for many happy years ahead.
We’re ready to send the next shipment, and we need your help.

Since coming back from Moldova, we have been very busy.

Our store, kindly lent by Hollies Farm, is filling up so fast that we hardly can keep up. St Mary’s hospital is happy that the donated equipment can be useful where it is so badly needed.

The Isle of Wight Council has also donated some special needs equipment for the activity centre for children with disabilities that we are planning to set up in Moldova. And more much-needed wheelchairs are in our store and waiting to be delivered.

We are ready to send our next shipment as soon as the funds are raised. It costs around 4,500 Euros to transport each load. Can you help?

My personal view and feelings after the trip…

MAD-Aid was officially launched on 1st of September 2012. We had a vision and we had some clear goals: to collect discarded medical equipment, to get charity status, to raise funds for our first delivery.

And suddenly in March 2013 all this became a reality. We became a registered charity, and we took our first load to Moldova.

Getting underway

On 5th of March at 7 am, on a chilly Spring morning, everyone was excited and keen to get the 16.5 m lorry loaded. With jokes, fun and good teamwork we got the last bed on and the door closed. There was no space left at all. With a farewell to the drivers, Ciprian and Ionut, we went home full of happiness and all the hard work seemed worthwhile.

But the work was not done yet, and John and I were soon busy packing our personal luggage.

On 6th of March we left for Moldova. Our trip took nearly took as long as driving as we had ferry, bus and plane with a stop in Turkey. On Wednesday morning at 9.30 am we landed in Chisinau airport, and were met by Ana and Andrei, our full time helpers for the time being there, and also by our little van that we hired to drive in Moldova.

After a very short break, enough to have a coffee, we started planning the delivery and visits. The lorry was in Romania by this time, and we checked with the broker that the papers for customs clearance were OK. At 3.30 pm we decided to visit the Mother and Child hospital where the first equipment would arrive.

A brush with reality – conditions in the Mother and Child Hospital

I was born and raised in Moldova. I was a patient in this hospital a few times in the late 80′s, but what I saw there on 7th of March left me with no words and tears in my eyes.

Did I see the whole hospital? No I couldn’t. The beds were full of rust, the walls were painted such a dark green, there were broken bedside cabinets, tiles falling from the walls , and just pain in the parents eyes as they sat with their children. One of the nurses said to me that last summer they tried to take the beds out and wash them with petrol hoping the rust would come off.

This was enough for us for the day. After 24 hours with no sleep and with such excitement at seeing the lorry full, we came down to earth with a bang as we found that, instead of improving over the last 20 years, the hospital had badly deteriorated.

The load arrives

Thursday morning at 7.30 I had a phone call from Ciprian saying that he was already waiting at the Chisinau Customs Terminal which opens at 9 am so he could get customs clearance. We met with Veronica, the lady who arranged our papers, brokers and so on, took our pack of papers and headed to the terminal ourselves. Hours passed and there was still nothing either from customs personnel or from the broker. Everybody assured us that everything was OK and under control and would be finished soon. “Soon” turned out to be after 5pm.

First deliveries

After clearance, we unloaded the equipment for the Child and Mother hospital in a store in Chisinau and then headed to Riscani where the rest of equipment was to be unloaded. At Riscani hospital spirits were really high and the Consultant, the director of the hospital, the staff from the ward and even the patients were waiting outside to help unload.

By this time it was starting to rain quite heavily. John recalls the moment when a health care assistant picked up a locker which weighed about 30 kg and walked away with it. All the equipment went to a cardiac unit. The staff from A&E were asking when the load for them will come!

All the unloading was finished by 4 am. We said goodbye to the lorry and drove home to get some sleep.
Finding out more about needs on the ground

March 8th is a bank holiday in Moldova for international women’s day, so we decided to celebrate as well. By 8 am I was already up, and in the afternoon we went back to Riscani to sort out the stock left in storage that we were going to deliver individually.

During the following week, we visited several hospitals, spoke to the directors and staff, listened to patients’ views, visited a disabled people’s home, saw a few children with disabilities at home and also went to The Motivation Activity Center, where we saw the difference these wonderful people make.

Making a Difference

The trip was successful, and also very upsetting. We noticed the change when we went back to the hospitals where the patients with new beds were much happier. Over the lockers, there is conflict. The staff wanted a few lockers to store medication in; the patients were complaining that the lockers were supposed to be for them. We left them to it as both sides are right.

So overall, I can say with some authority now that things are bad and Moldova does need a lot of help.

I would like to thank everyone who made this trip possible starting with our trustees, supporters, equipment suppliers, volunteers here and in Moldova. Please do support us further and help us to Deliver the equipment and to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

First shipment update

We’ve just heard from Victoria that all the deliveries are now done. Victoria and John will visit the hospital in Chisinau tomorrow, Thursday, to check that the equipment is on the wards. Deliveries were carried out in a hired transit van beautifully decorated with our sponsors’ signs and our own.

New bedside cabinet on a ward

The bedside cabinets have been a huge hit. The ones they are replacing are basic and often broken. Victoria says “the hospital here (in Riscani) is fighting over 16 bedside cabinets.” The extent of the need for modern equipment is almost overwhelming. But while it’s true that we’re just scratching the surface, there is no doubt that everything we’ve been able to send to Moldova is making a difference.

Conditions are worse than Victoria had expected. She knew things were bad, but not as bad as they actually are. In Riscani she was shown an Xray room which dates from the 1960s. Xrays have to be developed in a darkroom and hung up to dry.

Moldovan TV has given us access to a video showing extensively decaying windows, walls and ceilings, beds with broken springs that are ripping into the already inadequate, stained mattresses, broken tiles and flooring so worn and thin it has shredded – there’s no other word for it.

As well as touring hospitals with equipment, Victoria and John have visited Olga, the young woman from Victoria’s village who is isolated at home for many hours each day by her mobility problems. They’ve also been back to see Alexandru, the elder of the two boys who received our first wheelchairs at Christmas.

More wheelchairs have been delivered this time, and there are more in the pipeline, so we hope that as time goes on, many more Moldovan children with disabilities will have access to the mobility aids they need.