In the words of Victoria Lungu: "Investing in women is a central pillar of social development."


As one of the founders of Ophelia, a non-governmental organization dedicated to combating gender-based violence, Victoria Lungu is committed to supporting women in southern Moldova. Thanks to Victoria and her colleagues, Ophelia opened a Women's Resilience Center in Roșu village of Cahul district in November 2023. The center's goal is to support women survivors of gender-based violence and those at risk of abuse, including refugees as well as women from host communities. Victoria's motivation to establish Ophelia stems from her desire to help foster a society free of violence, where every woman and girl lives in a safe and equitable environment.

Victoria Lungu
Image credit: UN Women

"Ophelia was founded by me and my colleagues, Maria and Victoria, with the purpose of preventing and combating domestic and gender-based violence. At that time, there was no other organization in southern Moldova providing assistance in this field. My motivation comes from personal reasons and the desire to see society progress into one where every woman and girl feels safe. Thus, with the support of UN Women, we managed to open the Ophelia Women's Resilience Center in Cahul district.

Although it's a young organization, we have already implemented projects that provide psychological support to women victims of domestic violence, including refugee women from Ukraine. Moreover, we address all women in distress, not only victims of domestic violence, because women face different situations and have specific needs. As a result, our organization's activity is not limited to direct assistance through specialized services, such as social assistance, legal and psychological counseling, but also includes economic empowerment activities, financial support and social integration. Special importance is given to activities that allow women to share their experiences and learn from each other. Similarly, we organize activities related to parenting and education, considering that at some stage in their discussions, women bring up concerns related to the care and development of children.

Currently, we are in the stage of identifying the necessary resources to offer a wide range of services within the center and to expand the scope of our economic empowerment programme. Besides offering personal development courses and insight into personal branding and social media, we aim to support women in starting their own businesses or developing professional skills that facilitate their access to the labor market. By offering psychological and legal support, we hope to encourage them towards achieving financial independence.

This project would not have been possible without the support of UN Women. Identifying programmes that include infrastructure development is a significant challenge. First and foremost, it is essential to have the appropriate infrastructure and conditions to provide quality services. This means suitable workspaces and equipment. Thus, we managed not only to arrange a room dedicated to women's activities but also a child-friendly space. Mothers attending our activities can come with their children, who benefit from a room equipped with toys, a library and everything necessary for them to spend time in a pleasant way. This allows mothers to focus on the courses without being concerned about their children's immediate needs.

The main goal of Ophelia is to support women and children, finding innovative and effective solutions to address their complex needs. Community involvement in our initiatives demonstrates a common desire for improving social conditions, including in educational environments where violence is becoming an increasingly significant concern.

We firmly believe that investing in women is a central pillar of social development, and supporting intelligent, hardworking, and responsible women is essential for realizing their dreams and, as a result, creating a healthier society. Empowering women leads to a reduction in violence and strengthens the family as the nucleus of society, laying the groundwork for a better and more equitable generation."

The Women's Resilience Center was established through a partnership between Ophelia, the National Coalition "Life without Violence" and the non-governmental organizations DACIA Youth Resource Center and Help Moldova, within the project "Promoting a Gender-Sensitive Humanitarian Response at National and Regional Levels," implemented by UN Women Moldova and funded by the United States government.