It all started with a small, noble idea
We were asked from time to time in our circle of friends if we could use children’s clothes in Moldova. “Yes of course”, we thought. So not long thought and posted in mid-February this little picture in the WhatsApp status.
Because we have never done a fundraiser like this before, we were unsure if anything would come together in the end. Therefore, just to be on the safe side, I quickly asked friends in Thun, Zurich and Lucerne if they would like to help out as a collection point and do some advertising in their circle of friends.
And then came February 24.
A wave of generosity
When the invasion of Ukraine began, we also experienced the generosity of the Swiss. After only two weeks, we had to stop the collection campaign again and even refer donors with entire trunks full of clothes to other aid organizations. In Zurich the bags piled up on two parking spaces, in Lucerne you filled a small van and also in Thun a garage and half a cellar was filled with your clothes. Many thanks to all who donated. ❤️
But there was more work
to be done.
Our diligent helpers in Switzerland have sifted through everything and sorted out broken things. What was left over was washed, dried, lovingly folded again, sorted and packed into bags and boxes and driven to Thun.
Can you imagine how long that took? At this point a huge thank you to Denise and her neighbors in Zurich, Andrea and family from Lucerne, as well as Fränzi, Pädu, Sandra and Mätthufrom Thierachern. I know when I approached you for your help, I promised “no more than a few bags”.
Îmi pare rău, I misjudged a bit there 😉.
The planned transport
OriginallyI had reserved 2-3 pallets in their Moldova truck with a Thun relief organization.
But… because of Ukraine, all transports to Moldova were suspended and the available resources were used for trips to the war zone. We thought that was great and immediately gave a part of the clothes collected in Thun to this relief organization.
Nevertheless, we still had about 15sqm or two garages filled to the ceiling with clothes. For this we found another relief organization in Biel, but for them we had to deliver everything in pallets. Again, friends from our church in Thierachern put their connections and family to work, and eventually we came up with enough pallets and frames. Also here a Merci to all helpers and companies.
We were just organizing the transport of these pallets from Thun to Biel when my phone rang… 📳
The almtransport that almoast failed
Our pastor from Vadul-lui-Voda is a full-time chauffeur and has been driving refugees to Germany with an aid organization for a few weeks. They offered us at short notice to make a small detour to Switzerland the next day and fill their sprinter with clothes for the way back. Financially, it was not an advantage because the price of diesel for this detour is about the same as the cost of transportation by truck. But we know how much they like to help. So I briefly asked a friend who is an experienced relief goods forwarder about the customs procedure for private relief deliveries: “One loading list, one recipient, no problemo”.
Late Saturday evening, the pastoral couple reached our friends in Thun and loaded the Sprinter. After a restful night in Switzerland, we were off again on Sunday morning in the direction of Moldova. But only in the direction of Moldova. Because at the Moldavian border they said: Nu! “A document” is missing. The recipient needs some official document to receive aid shipments from abroad. We don’t have that, and we can’t get it anytime soon.
So plan B.My parents are in contact with a Romanian relief organization, which themselves have driven many relief transports to Ukraine. Nope – they just stopped the transports.
Alright, plan C. Another border crossing at midnight – same result. However, there was an important additional info there: a transit to Ukraine might be possible.
Then just plan D. Our pastors activated their Ukrainian contacts and the next morning it worked at the third border crossing with the passage through Moldova. Shortly after, the clothes finally reached their new destination in Ukraine.
And how did the rest of the clothes get to us?
Pretty unspectacular. The pallets were brought from Thun to Biel and from there by truck to Moldova, where we picked them up again.
What do you learn from this: Moldovans are very spontaneous and in the end“it always works out somehow” – but I am still more Swiss than Moldovan and therefore prefer a bit of planning and calmness in the execution 😉
How are the clothes used in Moldova?
The winters here are cold and in the villages there are still people who cannot afford gas or wood. Therefore, in late summer we will distribute the donated clothes here in Moldova to people who are glad to have something warm.
Possibly this will happen through the church network and/or our teams.
How exactly, we clarify then again Moldavian: when it is so far.
What I already know now, however:
In the end, it will work out somehow. 👍