The Open Society Foundations in Moldova
When the Soros Foundation–Moldova began its work in 1992, the country had just emerged from the former Soviet Union as an independent state. The political situation was precarious, and the economy was reeling. The foundation responded by funding cash-strapped schools, libraries, museums, and hospitals. Along with financial assistance, the foundation also supported the development of Moldova’s first nongovernmental organizations and independent think tanks after decades of Soviet domination.
Since then, the foundation has supported a broad range of civil society actors—including regional journalism outlets, teachers, doctors, community initiatives, human rights defenders, and organizations focused on electoral integrity and anticorruption. Throughout its history, the foundation has worked to ensure that Moldova’s people get the transparent and democratically accountable government they deserve.
Nine Facts About Moldova and the Open Society Foundations
- Since the 1990s, almost 2,000 young people from Moldova have received scholarships from the Open Society Foundations to study at colleges and universities in Europe and the United States, including at the Central European University, which was founded by George Soros in 1992.
- After the fall of Communism, Open Society supported fundamental reforms of Moldova’s criminal justice system, including the creation of the Public Defender’s Office in 2007, and a national legal aid system—one of the first to be established in Eastern Europe after the end of the Soviet era.
- As the global financial crisis hit Moldova in 2010, George Soros gave emergency funding to local leaders to provide school supplies and to support clothing and footwear donations and extracurricular activities that enabled 4,000 Moldovan children to stay in school despite financial hardship.
- In a media environment that remains dominated by politicians and oligarchs, the Soros Foundation–Moldova continues to support independent investigative journalism through grantees including the Center for Investigative Journalism in Chisinau, as well as local media outlets.
- The foundation continues to support Moldova’s efforts to develop closer relations with the European Union, including providing technical support for reforms under the EU’s Eastern Partnership Initiative.
- In Moldova, as elsewhere in the region, Open Society has been an active supporter of the renovation of care for people with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities, helping to develop community-based care facilities for more than 1,800 people who were previously confined in large, long-stay residential institutions.
- Open Society played a leading role in the development of Moldova’s early childhood intervention system after the end of the Communist era, including supporting the government in new approaches to the provision of specialized care for more than 2,000 children with special needs.
- The foundation, in partnership with other donor organizations, supported the establishment of Moldova’s first School of Public Health Management in 2003, as part of a broad effort to support the modernization of public health provision and planning.
- The foundation played a key role in the introduction of palliative care in Moldova through funding the establishment of the country’s first palliative care services and supporting integration of palliative care into the national health care system. Every year, thousands of terminally ill patients receive adequate support at the end of their lives and thus live with dignity until the end.
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