Moldova is a former Soviet Republic between Romania and Ukraine. It became independent in 1991, but its economy and infrastructure were already crumbling. It is easily one of Europe’s poorest countries if not THE poorest, with high unemployment, few opportunities and very low wages for many people.
As a result, up to a million Moldovans work abroad (about a quarter of the population) and many children are left with one parent, relatives, friends or just abandoned. The social consequences of this are severe, alcohol, drug and domestic violence related problems are common. Thousands of people, particularly women, fall victim to people traffickers, through false promises of earning good money abroad to provide a better life for them and their families.
In cities, many families live in one or two rooms in crumbling apartment blocks, sometimes with one shared kitchen and wash/toilet facility for a whole floor. Many people in rural communities simply survive on what they can grow and old people on meagre pensions are very vulnerable. Winters are harsh and summers hot.
The political situation is volatile and corruption is a major issue, so the country’s future remains uncertain and potentially very bleak with mass migration, especially of skilled young people.