Stories of Change

Top and bottom: donations provided by Healthy Cities, Middle: Budolai. Photos courtesy of Simon Chambers from ACT Alliance.

Faith with Action

One year ago when Russia invaded Ukraine Budulai didn’t hesitate to take action. Budulai is a leader at CWS’ local partner in Moldova, Healthy Cities, which was created several years ago to help the most vulnerable people in the city. Led by his faith, Budulai has spent many years with the organization to spread goodness and support those in need.

Budulai told us, “I wanted to help because it is the right thing to do. This is part of practicing our faith. Faith without action is dead. If you see a person in need and you just close your eyes, that is wrong. The Church should be an answer to people’s needs.”

Through Healthy Cities, Budulai began to explore where their support was most needed. He explained, “We looked around to see where the greatest needs were, and it was very clear that while there was lots of help in Chisinau, there was no support for refugees in Balti. The mayor was asking for help. So it was an easy decision to work here.”

Once they understood where they were needed, they got to work. Budulai recalled, “We began by helping with transport from the border. I would be there for weeks at a time, and my wife, Katya, supported me in this.” They also provided food and supplies to their new Ukrainian neighbors. What mattered the most to them was making sure that those receiving donations had a choice. Budulai shared, “It is better for them to come and choose the items that they need. We have carbohydrates, vegetables, proteins, meats, beans, cooking oil, dairy products, jam and dumplings. They take what they need and what they like to eat.”

The program also offered Romanian classes, child care, psychosocial support, legal help, youth engagement, arts and crafts and livelihood skills training. Overall, Healthy Cities supports about 1,500 families every week. Their work has now extended beyond Balti to other Moldovan communities in the north. As we spoke with Kayta, Budulai’s wife, she was working on an order from one of these communities. She explained, “Here we have supplies for one order that is supporting 98 families, 190 people.”

The work of Budulai and Healthy Cities has reached thousands, making a tremendous impact since the start of the war. Budulai is not only a leader in his community but an example for all of us of what happens when you turn your faith into action.

Support for this project was provided by a grant from UMCOR. To learn more about our work and how you too can take action, click here.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.