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Jun 7, 2019

Infrastructure and community achievements

Our stable in construction
Our stable in construction

Dear friends,

 

We are happy to announce you that we have reached several milestones since we arrived with our 4 rescued horses to Eco-Village Moldova. We registered progress in infrastructure building and community consolidating.

Our first necessity was to build a stable that could keep our horses warm and dry during the cold season. Until now we managed to build a wooden structure, surrounded by walls made out of straw bales. There are 5 horseboxes inside, each of them equipped with a water system and a slow feeder. Even though the foundation is laid, we still have a lot of work to do in order to finish the construction, like covering the walls with a clay layer, covering the roof, installing windows and building rooms on the second floor.

The second need was a basic structure in which the horses could spend their day time, eat and run free. As to fulfil this necessity, we asked some local people to create a small fenced area with wooden separators. Therefore, we have a small paddock right near the forest where horses can enjoy their spare time and feel free.

 

Another infrastructure investment was the riding arena. We identified and rented a big deposit which we will use for educating our horses, organizing activities with them, but also as storage for hay and straw bales. Even though the deposit is old and rusty, we managed to organize a team of volunteers to clean it up and help us manage the space. The next step is to cover the ground with clay and sand, to create a smooth and safe surface for the horses to run.

During the past months we had 3 main goals, educating our horses, creating a community of horse-loving people and implementing educational programs that would improve the attitude towards horses throughout the country. Here is a short description of the work done for each goal:

 

  • Educating the horses

We are now working on an educational program that will imply soft methods and natural horsemanship practices. Even though the program is a work in process, we already have a volunteer, who started working with our horses in both fields-ground work and riding. Here is what she says about her experience in the Sanctuary: “I am more than happy to be a part of Horse Sanctuary community. This is a place where I can see real horsemanship based on trust between the horse and the rider. When I work with these wonderful animals using gentle and soft methods, I see real potential in the projects we plan to unfold.”

 

  • Creating a community of horse-loving people

Starting with this year we had a volunteer meeting each month. Their purpose was to unite people who are willing to help our cause. Until now, we gathered 15 people who are regularly coming to the meetings and helping us with the project.

Moreover, we launched a volunteer program, for those who are willing to study horses in depth. We already have the first person who completed the whole program and can now take care of the horses and participate in the management of the Sanctuary.

 

Recently we organized the first big event at the Sanctuary, it was a Festival for families, with a lot of activities related to horses. The aim of the event was to raise interest for these animals, especially among the children and youth, and show people a gentle way of dealing with horses.

 

  • Implementing educational programs

We launched an educational program that consists of monthly psychology seminars, that cover important social topics, and relate them to horses. For example the last seminar was about stress, and it featured a theoretical course and a practical part of interacting with horses to alleviate stress.

 

As you can see, many stages are completed, but we still need your support to continue our work. It is not just about saving this 4 horses, but about improving the situation in the whole country. It is not just about creating a safe home for horses, but also creating a place where people can bond with them. We are only at the beginning of the road, and we still need a lot of help.

Our future riding arena
Our future riding arena
Vickie working saddleless with Wise
Vickie working saddleless with Wise
Volunteers  at a monthly meeting
Volunteers at a monthly meeting
First volunteer that completed the program
First volunteer that completed the program
Horse interaction at one of the seminars
Horse interaction at one of the seminars

Links:

Jan 11, 2019

Horse Sanctuary

One year old Yuki and his mom saved from slaughter
One year old Yuki and his mom saved from slaughter

Dear partners,

Even though we have just officially opened the doors of the Environmental Training Center and the Eco-Village is still work in progress, we already have an exciting new sub-project!

Eco-Village now hosts a Horse Sanctuary and namely 4 horses that have been salvaged from their way to the slaughter house. The initiative came from Valeriu, a social activist, winemaker and project manager, as well as Cristina, a true horse lover who has been training with horses for more than 14 years, since the age of 4.

Our mission now is to salvage these horses, offering them good living conditions, fair work and helping us and our visitors better understand the animal world. This Horse Sanctuary could complement a number of existing initiatives:

  • Promoting more sustainable practices. Just as we try to raise awareness about soil protection, eco-friendly lifestyles, we hope the Horse Sanctuary will offer information and skills on treating domestic animals with dignity and respect.
  • Rural development through eco-tourism. A few months ago we started developing forest trails with a youth group from the village. With 4 horses being trained, and a number of bicycles available, those trails could be explored by people of all ages, including families, whether they prefer hiking, bicycling or horse/carriage riding.
  • Strengthening partnerships. This year we started environmental mainstreaming consultancy for a number of non-profit organizations working with people with disabilities. This collaboration could be further strengthened through common projects, like horse therapy activities.
  • Organizing youth programs. Integrating activities with horses into our training programs will offer additional opportunities for youth empowerment and engagement.

A very important milestone was to build a stable and get the horses to shelter before cold weather hits. Now that the basic structure is up and the horses are inside we are on a challenge to gather partners, volunteers and resources to fulfill our mission. 

Your support at this initial stage would allow us to buy the missing roughage, organize a riding arena for horse training, prepare educational events and attract more volunteers.

Since the horses joined our community 3 months ago, we understood this is not only about saving these 4 beautiful creatures, it is about believing and showing that there is another way to collaborate with the animals that surround us, with plenty of room for improving how we see this world, how we communicate and how we treat what is out there. Because, ultimately, that is how we end up treating each other and ourselves.

ActivePeace participants connect with nature/ self
ActivePeace participants connect with nature/ self
Draft plan of the horse stables
Draft plan of the horse stables
A caring touch is therapeutic for people & horses
A caring touch is therapeutic for people & horses
Kids developing trails & connections with forest
Kids developing trails & connections with forest
Winter view of our Environmental Training Center
Winter view of our Environmental Training Center
Sep 10, 2018

Eco-Center seen through Volunteer's eyes

Starting a selective waste management initiative
Starting a selective waste management initiative

Dear Friends,

Recently, our village received a Peace Corps volunteer from the US, Corey Sung. He came for two years to work with us, with the local library, as well as various community members from our village. As a way to freshen up our reports, we asked him to share his impressions of our project. Here is the Environmental Training Center seen through his eyes:

“When I arrived at the Eco-Village Moldova, I had no idea what to expect, but I did know that it was unlike anything else in Moldova – or, to be frank, anything I had ever seen before. The floors were made from earthen bricks and the walls were coated with clay and created out of reeds. Little did I know then, but these were a couple of the many ways that the Environmental Training Center was built to be cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable.  

In addition to the buildings themselves, the land is being used to grow crops; however, Eco-Village uses different methods to keep the growth sustainable. For example, the plot of land in the front uses permaculture principles to keep the plants healthy and self-sufficient, as well as to rehabilitate the soil. As someone who had little knowledge of such principles, I was genuinely impressed by the way Liliana and her team incorporated these ideas into Eco-Village.

For me, the most impressive thing that Eco-Village does is that it is slowly becoming a hub for active citizens in Moldova. Working alongside its partners, many sessions are held in the Environmental Training Center where an exchange of ideas occurs. During my time working alongside Liliana, the Eco-Village hosted several sessions about environmental sustainability (ex. consumption & waste management, energy efficiency), youth leadership, and teamwork; in the following weeks, there will be sessions on financial literacy, and a workshop with local youth on sustainable business practices.

Looking forward, I am excited to continue working alongside Liliana and the great staff here at the Environmental Training Center. The work that they do is, in my opinion, incredibly beneficial to both the community that they’re in and also Moldova as a whole.

Training coordinators for country-wide cleanup day
Training coordinators for country-wide cleanup day
Mentoring teams for Green Business development
Mentoring teams for Green Business development
Elderly Center members discover solar dried herbs
Elderly Center members discover solar dried herbs
Winter prep-over 20 tomato varieties in our garden
Winter prep-over 20 tomato varieties in our garden
Corey Sung, our Peace Corps volunteer for 2 years
Corey Sung, our Peace Corps volunteer for 2 years

Links:

 
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