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Is that a long period or a short one?!

Today, August 2, MAD-Aid celebrates seven years of charitable work. Over these many years we can emphatically say that we learned how to run before we allowed ourselves to walk. Not what we would suggest, looking back, but somehow we made it through.

From the start, the vision and aim of Victoria, the founder and locomotive of MAD-Aid, was to offer help where it was most needed, to leave a legacy, and, most importantly, as each program was designed and implemented, to eventually make them all sustainable. At the seven year mark we can assess how that’s all going.

The MAD-Aid name came from Medical Aid Delivered and Make A Difference.

Yet what MAD-Aid has accomplished in its first seven years is so much more than deliver a few trucks of medical aid or solve a few needy cases. Rather, we meaningfully touched thousands of lives. We can’t tell you the exact number but behind each number there is a story to tell, there is a human life.

Every program, every project undertaken, was built on lessons learned and from listening deeply to the real needs and points of pain of ordinary Moldovans on the ground.

Will you come take a walk through MAD-Aid’s memory lane with us?

If you’ve been with us since the beginning in 2012, you know that it all started with the “simple” idea of sending discarded and usable hospital equipment from the United Kingdom to Moldova, Victoria’s land of birth, and to other poor European nations. This first core program of medical aid delivery is still going strong and to date MAD-Aid has:

  • Recycled over 500 tons of usable quality equipment and saved it from UK landfill
  • Replaced the furniture in over 20 hospital wards in Moldova
  • Delivered over 700 wheelchairs and other mobility equipment to children and adults with physical disabilities
  • Furnished the day care centre for elderly in Mihaileni Village
  • Installed two full sets of dental equipment in the Nisporeni School
  • Delivered specialised haematology chairs to the children’s ward of the oncology hospital in Chisinau
  • Supplied equipment to Renasterii Centre in Riscani, a multifunctional centre that takes in and cares for the homeless, abandoned children, and more
  • Supplied furniture to Mihaileni and Riscani schools
  • Delivered equipment to Tony Hawks Centre in Chisinau
  • Provided logistics support to 17 medical professionals from Moldova who came to the UK for two weeks of ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) training
  • Gave furniture to Riscani police station
  • Gave equipment to Riscani fire station
  • Sent equipment to Bulgaria, Romania, and Africa with other partners when we were unable to raise the necessary funds for transport to Moldova

Our second core program responded to our discovery that hundreds of children in Moldova languished lonely and in the darkness of their bedrooms because they had no means to be mobile and their parents were poor and ashamed. Thus we embarked on the arduous road of securing space, raising funds and donations in kind, and renovating an old dilapidated kindergarten to build the world-class Phoenix Centre. After opening its doors in the fall of 2015, we:

  • Operated the day centre and early intervention and rehabilitation centre
  • Hired and trained 19 local staff and professionals
  • Cared for over 20 children and teens in regular attendance at the day centre, offering them an environment for learning, joy, and inclusion, and including special outings
  • Provided over 4000 treatments at the centre each year to over 200 children from north.
  • Ran a mobile early intervention and rehabilitation treatments project in remote villages
  • Carried out awareness-raising events and lobbied the government for the rights of children and adults with special needs

With the rich experience of Phoenix Centre under our belts we thought setting up our third core program would be a relative cake walk. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Repairing the second half of the dilapidated kindergarten structure into the first model care facility for elders has entailed a multitude of challenges, not least of which was raising the needed funds. It stretched the personal energy and inner resources of Victoria to the max.

With many helping hands and generous donors and partners, we are proud to have met our self-imposed deadline of June 22 this year for the soft launch of Phoenix Home. Our celebration of the completion of the renovations was indeed a joyful one, attended by so many supporters.

Much work remains to be done before the doors can be completely opened to elderly residents in September. This work includes all the tasks involved in hiring and training up to 25 additional local professionals and staff, drafting work processes, and further fundraising. We warmly welcome you to volunteer your time and skills in any of these areas.

Why is this program so important to us? Because it is Phoenix Home that we plan will eventually sustain the expenses of operating Phoenix Centre, and, remember, sustainability was the aim from the beginning. This residence for elders will provide professional yet family-style care in clean, comfortable, and fully accessible premises for comparatively reasonable fees in a global market where demand for senior facilities is high. Run as a social enterprise (non-profit), part of the income generated will help run the day centre for poor youth with special needs. That makes Phoenix Home a unique model that can be replicated not only in Moldova, but elsewhere.

The fourth core program that will complete our dream of the Phoenix Complex is the building of the first fully accessible hydrotherapy pool in Moldova. To complete the Phoenix Pool, we still urgently need and rely on your help and support (click to donate now).

The vision of the Phoenix Complex would not have been realized at the fast pace it has without MAD-Aid’s close partnership started in 2014 with Communication Workers Union Humanitarian Aid (CWUHA). Thanks to this special collaboration, together we’ve completed these additional projects:

  • Delivered 56 vans with aid from the UK and Ireland to Moldova (five additional next month)
  • Delivered aid to around 1000 needy children every year since 2015
  • Gave household items, food and necessities to 100 families in need a year
  • Set up a football tournament that empowered 210 children every year from south, centre and north of Moldova. Supplied the 14 teams with kits, football equipment for 14 schools, trophies and medals, and presents for each child for three consecutive years
  • Supplied equipment, furniture and aid to the Sport Republican Lyceum in Chisinau (from washing machine to boxing gloves, footballs to laptops and projectors)
  • Supplied aid to seven kindergartens
  • Supplied aid to Casa Comunitara Chisinau, centre for severely disabled children, Tony Hawks Centre, Hansa Centre for adults with special needs, Hincesti orphanage for girls with special needs, and Orhei orphanage for boys
  • Organised “a holiday of a lifetime” for 14 Moldovan youth to the UK

Throughout this journey, we have deeply appreciated the remarkable support of our steadfast board of trustees, the many open-handed individual and organisational partners, sponsors and donors, and the dedicated volunteers. We make special mention with gratitude of our collaborations with ChildAid, Sustainable Partners, PhysioNet, and most recently, The Little Edi Foundation. Last, but certainly not least, our heartfelt thanks to the devoted team of Moldova AID, MAD-Aid’s feet on the ground in Moldova, without whom none of our work would have been possible.

If you haven’t already, we warmly invite you to join our social media presence. We have built vibrant Facebook pages with over 2200 followers for MAD-Aid and 1100 for Phoenix Centre, as well as a MAD-Aid group of nearly 900 members. On these FB pages and on MAD-Aid’s YouTube channel you will find the photos and videos that record the difference we have made together.

Sadly, raising funds to achieve all our accomplishments has been—and remains—the most stressful and time-consuming of our work. We therefore created MADclub and are slowly building a growing membership of people who became part of the MAD-Aid family. These good folks see merit in giving monthly in order to invest in the long-term viability of MAD-Aid’s core programs and to provide an ongoing predictable cash flow that enables us to focus on serving. There lots of room in this club still and you can join here.

So looking back at all this we can admit that for us at MAD-Aid the past seven years feel both like a lifetime and a blink of the eyes. Will you continue on this journey with us for the next seven years?

Thank you for helping MAD-Aid Make A Difference.

You can make a real difference to the poorest country in Europe