In the words of Olesea Plăcintă: "My life is divided into two stages – before I participated in the projects and after”


Olesea Plăcintă
Olesea Plăcintă, woman entrepreneur
Photo credit: Courtesy of Olesea Plăcintă

Through her example, Olesea Plăcintă illustrates the strength and resilience of a woman experiencing self-growth. Originally from Semeni in Ungheni district and the mother of four children, Olesea went through an impressive journey of personal rediscovery and entrepreneurial success, thanks to economic empowerment programmes supported by UN Women Moldova.

"Years ago, I made the conscious choice to stay in Moldova to raise my children in a healthy environment. Together with my husband, we developed a traditional livestock business, more precisely, a sheepfold.

Life, however, brought challenges. In 2021, after temporarily moving to Chișinău to be close to two of my children who were studying at university, I needed to take a break from our business for a while. At 40, making a life change with four children is complicated. It was a time of disappointment. I returned to Ungheni, in a very depressed state. This was when the secretary of the City Council encouraged me to attend development courses offered through the EVA Project.

This moment proved to be a turning point. The psychological counseling and entrepreneurial development courses not only gave me the support to overcome difficult moments but the courage and resources to change the direction of our business as well. Due to my involvement in this programme, I received a small grant worth 20,000 MDL. That's how we managed to equip the sheepfold with an electric fence and a generator, both of which were very necessary at the time.

It was my first experience of this kind, and it felt like experiencing your first love or first child. That's when I became determined to keep developing the business, which brought me so much pleasure and fulfillment.

Over time, I have come across negative comments and attitudes about our business. However, I have always wanted to carry out this activity, sheep breeding, in a beautiful and decent way. Nothing has stopped me on this journey.

In June this year, I saw on social media networks a call for grants, launched by the NGO Women for Women in partnership with UN Women. Within this project, a number of activities were being carried out for female entrepreneurs in Costești. For me, it was a challenge to participate because it took place in the middle of summer when the animal husbandry business is in full swing, so I had to explain to my family that I was leaving for a week. But my family supported me, and I had a very nice time. The psychological counseling [through the project] helped me dig deep into myself to understand and accept all my childhood memories and traumas. I came back from Costești another person, and my children said: "Mom, where have you been? Would you like to go there again?"

During the project, I met wonderful women with whom I’m on the same wavelength, and together we have formed soul friendships.

Moreover, after discussing it with other project participants, I tested out the idea of producing goat's milk yogurt for the first time. That's how I had the opportunity to observe the reactions of consumers and thus, my idea took wing.

Within these activities, I benefited from a grant worth 100,000 MDL, from which I purchased some of the necessary equipment for milk processing in an authorized and certified room according to ANSA conditions. This was my main goal – to launch a certified product on the market.

Now, in collaboration with the Department of Food Technology at the Technical University of Moldova, I am in the process of finalizing the yogurt recipe.

That's how I discovered the taste of projects, and in the autumn of this year, I saw on social media an announcement for the Voucher Support Programme, implemented by Yep! Moldova and UN Women. I applied online, but it was more complicated for me, especially in the second stage, because it was necessary to know English. However, I coped and won a voucher worth 60,000 MDL. Now, we are at the stage of purchasing the other equipment necessary for arranging the milk processing room.

Even in my wildest dreams, I would have never imagined that I’d receive so much support. We developed our business alone for eight years, and it was very difficult for us. But participating in projects changed my vision. Through the projects, I found answers to questions I had for years. It helped me achieve balance on a personal level, and the funding contributed to my success. Today, I am proud to say that our business is developing in a healthy and sustainable way.

My life is divided into two stages – before I participated in the projects and after. Before, I felt like I was a magnet for attracting trouble. But participating in the project’s psychological counseling sessions made me see the glass half full and look for inspiration around me to generate ideas.

I’m also a jurist, but because I took maternity leave for many years and then worked in a trade, I did not manage to work in a legal field. That’s until recently, when the opportunity arose for me to get a job in which I’m applying my legal knowledge. I realized that when I started solving my own problems in my soul, things somehow began to fall into place in my life.

Around this time, I also got involved in an initiative to identify 10 women from rural areas who could develop a business. Since I come from a similar background, I’m able to see the potential in women who have skills but lack courage. Through my example, I want to serve as an inspiration for my community. I believe in the power of women, and I have a lot of ideas for the future that involve highlighting the beauty of life in rural areas, especially related to animal husbandry.

I want to urge all women to be persistent and achieve financial independence. Women are strong, women can!"

Olesea Placintă benefited from psychological counseling, entrepreneurial development courses and a mini grant to develop her own business through the “EVA Project – Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni Districts,” which is funded by the European Union and implemented by UN Women Moldova in partnership with UNICEF. Motivated by this success, Olesea continued to participate in various programmes, including the School of Women’s Leadership in Business within "U-Power – Supporting women's leadership and social cohesion in the peacebuilding process,” a project being implemented by Women for Women in partnership with the Informal Education Center "Diversity" and CRISP – Conflict Simulation, with the support of UN Women Moldova and funding from the Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund. She is also a beneficiary of the Voucher Support Programme, implemented by Yep! Moldova and Generation Nika within the project "Support for women entrepreneurs in increasing resilience in times of crisis and achieving business development goals” in partnership with UN Women Moldova and with financial support from Sweden.