Social laundry and socialization service – a model of social inclusion for elderly in rural community

Elders from Singereii Noi wash their clothes. Photo: UNDP Moldova
Elders from Singereii Noi wash their clothes. Photo: UNDP Moldova

22 May 2015. Singereii Noi is a village with more than 900 elderly people (800 women), 90 of them with various disabilities (70 women). As major part of oldpeople in Moldova, they have scarce living conditions and are extremely vulnerable.

The demand for community-based social services exceeds the local public administration capacities, therefore the need to develop services with a community accent, as an alternative to institutional services, is more than obvious.

Highlights

  • 150 persons from Singereii Noi can benefit of free laundry services.
  • The rest of local population benefit from laundry services for a certain cost. The money raised are used for further development of Centre’s activities, ensuring durability
  • The community socialization and laundry service for elderly is one of the 20 community projects supported financially and methodologically by Joint Integrated Local Development Programme

Based on the above-mentioned, an initiative group formed by a dozen of local seniors, entered into partnership with the local public authorities to develop a laundry service for the elderly.The center is equipped with washing machines, bought through a grant from Joint Integrated Local Development Programme(JILDP).

The local authorities provided the space; residents of the community were mobilized andgave financial donations, gathered furniture, library books, and interactive games which transformed the space in a friendly environment for socialization.

The laundry services are offered for free for the most vulnerable elderly and people with disabilities. Together with the local social assistance service, a list of 150 persons who can benefit for free was approved. The rest of local population benefit from laundry services for a certain cost.The service is an essential one for the community, as there is no water supply system in Singereii Noi. The money raisedare used for further development of Centre’s activities, ensuring durability.

Ana Malinovschi is 78 years old and has difficulties to reach the center. Therefore, her neighbor collects laundry from her and several other elderly from the neighborhood and brings it to the center. Sometimes, he takes Ms. Ana with his cart to the Center, where she is very happy to communicate with her peers. "Unfortunately, I don’t have any relative to help me with the chores. We do not have running water and cloth washing is always a painful process for me. You can’t even imagine how much this service means for helpless old people like me", said Ana MalinovschiBesides the local ownership, there are several partnership established around the newly created service.

The initiative group has involved pupils to help elderly with difficulty in motion to bring their laundry to the center in the morning, on the way to school and take them back after classes.

The community socialization and laundry service for elderly is one of the 20 community projects supported financially and methodologicallybyJoint Integrated Local Development Programme, which assists the State Chancellery of the Government of Moldova to implement decentralization strategy. The Programme is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (UN Women), with financial support from the Government of Denmark.

JILDP has supported the empowerment of community groups from 20 localities from Moldova in becoming dialogue partners of LPAs. As result, 20 human rights and gender mainstreamed projects(with JILDP contribution up to $5,000) were implemented as part of local empowerment process.

The projects range from improved sports facilities, renovated kitchen and dining spaces in educational institutions, improved accessibility to local service-providers, to creation of community information centers, accessibility services to women and vulnerable groups in terms of access to education, healthcare and social services, as well as inclusion and capacity building.

In order to scale-up their experience, the initiative group from Sangereii Noi organized an official launch event, where other local community groups who intend to initiate similar community services participated.

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