Moldova beauty salon offers free services, psychological support for refugees, local women

Moldova beauty salon offers free services, psychological support for refugees, local women
22 / 02 / 2023
By Marwa Nassar - -

A beauty center in a village in central Moldova offers free beauty services and psychological support for refugees and local women.

The salon – owned by Anastasia Bacico – is run through the project “Feminist and localized humanitarian action”, supported by Gender Centru—a partner organization of UN Women that receives funding from the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF).

At the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, Bacico’s main concern was to provide refugees with accommodation, food and personal hygiene products. But as time went on, she realized that the level of stress women refugees are under required something more.

“Most men have remained in their country, and women are involved in an ongoing struggle here—they have to do their best to acquire food, hygiene products, clothing and various other services that they and their children need,” she said.

Bacico decided to act, and through the WPHF-funded project, she has been providing a space where Ukrainian refugees and local women can come to receive free psychological counselling and beauty services. Getting a haircut or a manicure helps them feel better and, in the process, they also receive psycho-emotional counselling.

WPHF currently provides financial support to 20 women’s rights and women-led organizations in Moldova. With this support, the organizations offer humanitarian assistance and protection to women and girl refugees, promote the leadership of women in the humanitarian response and build inclusive communities.

At a ceremony on 20 January 2023, marking the second round of funding offered, WPHF Secretariat head Ghita El Khyari highlighted how the narrative around women and women’s organizations—which in the past have not been considered legitimate humanitarian responders—is changing.

She also highlighted the gendered dimensions of the refugee crisis, saying: “We know very well that women and girls comprise the large majority of those displaced by the war and that it aggravates pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities. We are very happy to see how host communities are able and willing to support displaced women and girls from Ukraine.”

To date, six women’s rights organizations and women-led organizations implemented projects funded by the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, in which over 1,400 refugees received emergency assistance, around 600 women joined training and counselling sessions and 167 women took part in leadership programs. In this context, 35 women and girls, both local and refugees, benefited from the project run by Anastasia Bacico.

More than that, Bacico’s project offers an opportunity for displaced women to be involved in the refugee response. The activities were designed with inputs from a local group of refugees, and several refugees volunteer at the salon.

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