In Moldova, Volunteering to Build a Better World

As a volunteer in Moldova, Europe's poorest country, Igor Chepoi works with vulnerable populations through his city's JDC-supported volunteer center.

By Igor Chepoi - JDC Volunteer | December 1, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, Igor Chepoi volunteered to help Moldova's Jewish community.

One day I realized I just wasn’t doing enough to change the world for the better. That’s when I started to volunteer.

I knew I could do more than just small actions, like helping a young mother get her stroller off the trolleybus. A friend who learned about the center at a volunteer fair brought me to the “Be.Do.Have.” volunteer summer school, and I was hooked by the professional approach to volunteering and the chance everyone was given to realize their full potential.

Igor Chepoi

I filled out a questionnaire on the Volunteer Center website and came in for an interview — now I’ve been an active volunteer for two and a half years. Today, I participate in many projects, and it would almost be easier to name those I’m not involved with.

I attend many different community events, and I’ve also developed my own project “Creation Space.” I have a background in stand-up comedy, and my project helps teenagers gain self-confidence by performing on stage.

I also vividly remember participating in “Erasing Borders,” a volunteer project at a local rehabilitation center. Other volunteers and I conducted creative master classes for children with serious illnesses. Some of them were unable to even move on their own, and my project focused on strengthening their fine motor skills. It was very meaningful for me to be able to help children who couldn’t take care of themselves. It made me realize we all have a responsibility to help however we can.

I decided I’d provide as much help as possible to those who needed it most. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve become more focused on the elderly, as they’re one of the most vulnerable populations. I hated to think they might feel there was no one to help them, so during the quarantine period, I decided I’d provide as much help as possible to those who needed it most. I helped people in neighboring apartment buildings because I think it’s necessary to start locally and then move on to making a global impact.

Volunteering is important everywhere, but especially here in Moldova, where we are the poorest country in Europe and where our children and elderly have so many needs. When we start with small deeds, each individual action will expand to a movement that can gradually change an entire country. Volunteering to make Moldova better, safer, and kinder for the people who live here feels like a sort of patriotism to me.

When you start by changing yourself, the world around you will soon follow. I believe we can’t just sit around and complain about the world as we see it — we have to make the positive changes we seek. Helping others is everyone’s responsibility.

Igor Chepoi, 20, is a student and volunteer in Chi?in?u, Moldova. He also works for American Councils Moldova as a language coordinator.

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