All just-married couples from Chirsova receive a booklet with messages on prevention of domestic violence.

“A book may be written about any family. For a happy story, there is no space for violence,” this is a happy marriage recipe according to Cătălina and Gheorghe Vîlciu. These two got married several weeks ago at a ceremony performed in the mayor’s office in Chirsova – a community from Gagauzian Autonomy.

Gheorghe and Cătălina have vowed love to each other in the presence of their relatives and friends. By the end of the ceremony, together with the marriage certificate, they received a brochure entitled “A happy family is a family without violence”, and the secretary of the Mayor’s Office told them about the importance of preventing conflicts and violence.

The initiative is of the multidisciplinary team from Chirsova and is conducted in the framework of the project “Addressing violence against women in the Republic of Moldova: exploring and learning from local solutions” implemented by UNDP with the support of Republic of Korea.

Like Gheorghe and Catalina, about 20 thousand couples marry each year in the Republic of Moldova. And many of them fall apart. One of the reasons is the violence - every fourth woman in Moldova experienced it.

“A happy family is a family without violence”

Gheorghe is known not only by Chirsova villagers, but also by all Carla's Dreams band fans. He is one of the young people appearing in the “Imperfect” video clip. He got this role thanks to his appearance – his skin and hair are all white due to albinism – a condition he suffers from since his childhood. He is often invited to take part in photo shoots. “I accept these invitations because I want to have some memories when I will be old. I want to know that I did something interesting and something nice remained for people,” says Gheorghe.

Gheorghe and Cătălina met four years ago. They were just neighbors at the beginning, then became friends, and over some time they understood that they cannot live without each other and decided to get married.

Gheorghe and Cătălina Vâlciu have known each other for four years, and are married for several weeks.

“The mentality is like this here – keep silence and bear with it”

Gheorghe and Cătălina welcome the initiative of the multidisciplinary team from Chirsova and are convinced that the information sessions contribute to reducing violence in family.

“The mentality is like this here – if you get married, no way to divorce. Just keep silence and bear with it. And women endure when they are humiliated and beaten. And hence they end up with the idea that women have no value and do not deserve being respected. The biggest problem is that women do not know their rights and are not informed. I consider that girls have to be educated since they are in school, for them to know that men are not superior to women,” says Cătălina.

At the end of the ceremony of marriage, the secretary of the Chirsova City Hall hands over the information material on violence prevention.

Just like Cătălina and Gheorghe, other dozens of newlyweds from the Gagauzian Autonomy will receive until the end of the year information on how to avoid violent conflicts in a marriage and how to act when such problems occur. At the same time, they will be informed whom to refer to when having family crises.

Prevention of violence, more efficient than just combatting it

The brochure for the newlyweds is part of a wider range of actions for violence prevention, which were organized in Chirsova. A multidisciplinary team works in the village, being empowered to prevent and combat violence. At the same time, the authorities together with the villagers have developed an action plan to reduce the number of violence cases.

Vasilisa Delicostea, the social assistant of the community, is firmly convinced that information is one of the most efficient solutions. “We realized that young people should know about this since they are pupils in school and that discussions should be continued when they decide to start a family. It is important for girls and boys to know how to manage family problems and conflicts in a civilized way, so as not to end up in violence”.

The information campaign will reach out to other communities in the Gagauzia region.

The information campaign for young people will get spread over the next month to cover other localities from the Gagauzian Autonomy.

Addressing violence against women in the Republic of Moldova: exploring and learning from local solutions” project is implemented by UNDP during 2018-2020 with the support of Republic of Korea.

This pilot-program from Moldova is part of the global UNDP initiative “Ending Gender Based Violence and Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”, which aims to tackle the wide-scale prevention of violence, involving new partners, strategies, and financing sources. The project is implemented in seven countries: Bhutan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Iraq, Moldova, Peru and Uganda. UNDP and Republic of Korea have launched this global initiative to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by helping countries make progress on combatting and preventing gender-based violence.

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