Headmaster’s report on Moldova 2008

May 2008

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

Half-term provided the opportunity to travel to Moldova on a fact-finding tour to discover more about Agape, the charity the School has supported and worked with since links were first established by Adam Jenkins and Jonathan Townsend in 2000.

First, a few background details. Moldova is not on the tourist trail. It is the poorest country in Europe, has a history of being fought over and dissected as Empires have waxed and waned, is landlocked and is now beset by the additional problems of a simmering civil war at its Eastern frontier - the region of Transnistria having made a unilateral declaration of independence in 1991. It also suffers acutely from a ‘brain drain’, with 30% of working age males working abroad.

Although much of the landscape is beautiful, fertile, gently undulating agricultural land, many staple products are imported. Inflation, corruption and poor use of resources mean that many live in relative poverty, and a significant minority in the absolute poverty more normally associated with Africa and India.

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

Despite problems of historical and geographic legacy, the people are extremely friendly, welcoming and hospitable. Over the years a strong emphasis on education has meant that many speak good English with high levels of literacy. However, urban accommodation, much of it in the ‘brutalist’ high-rise style of Soviet Imperialism, circa 60s and 70s, is all crumbling at the same time.

The economy, largely devoted to viticulture, has been badly hit by global over-production and tension with the main market, Russia.

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

Agape is doing sterling work supporting youth projects, hospitals, agricultural initiatives and a whole host of vulnerable individuals. Boys from Abingdon have had life-changing experiences when they have seen and worked with Agape, and I can now see why.

Inevitably the enthusiasm and dedication of the individuals involved has to be tempered by the reality of constraints of time and money, but the work that is going on is especially important in the absence of a viable social service. The support that Agape provides can be regarded as essential to the lives of many.

I am thrilled to have seen at first hand the excellent work that Agape is engaged in, and delighted that Abingdon School is involved. I very much hope that our links can deepen over the years, although it is impossible to quantify the intangible benefits of sharing experiences and building friendships across cultural and economic divides. I believe them to be immense.

Mark Turner

Headmaster's visit to Moldova   Headmaster's visit to Moldova
     

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

     
Headmaster's visit to Moldova   Headmaster's visit to Moldova
     
Headmaster's visit to Moldova   Headmaster's visit to Moldova
     
Headmaster's visit to Moldova   Headmaster's visit to Moldova
     

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

 

Headmaster's visit to Moldova

     
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