“Sorry, we can’t help you,” they answer. “You should have checked the money when you received it!”
Fortunately, the money in question is not real. Though the man is surprised and probably angry, the situation he finds himself in during OM Moldova’s business course will hopefully help him avoid similar situations in the future.
It is the last afternoon of the business course held in January. To put into practice what they’ve learnt, participants play a game to get a taste of reality in a safe environment.
The men and women split into groups, each forming a small business. During the game, they must keep their business alive—they receive orders for production and loans from the bank, allot money for production and salaries, budget for necessary materials and food, and resolve unexpected complications. On “Sundays”, the business rests, and the teams are given a chance to tithe to the church.
This game reflects the general spirit of the course, in which OM Moldova hopes to impart practical knowledge about starting and running a small business, as well as uphold ethical values and integrity.
The participants are driven by a common need for employment. Jobs are rare in Moldova, and among those who are employed, more than 50 per cent earn less than 1,000 lei (about 85 US dollars) per month, while subsistence minimum is currently above 1,300 lei*.
In reality, an estimated quarter of Moldova’s working-age population search for work abroad. But as one participant explains, “Even abroad doors are closing and possibilities for Moldovans to work in other countries are getting fewer.”
One woman adds, “And working abroad means being away from your family, your children, most of the year.”
Although many Moldovan families own a few animals and a plot of land to grow vegetables, very few have the courage and knowledge to develop a small business, which could provide a sufficient income for their families.
Most of the participants plan to get involved in some form of agriculture for farming. Alexei wants to grow fruit and vegetables. Another man is thinking of building greenhouses. Vasilie and his cousin dream of starting a business with cows. Andrei, who inherited 50 families of bees from his parents, knows how to work with the bees but attended the course to learn about the other aspects of running a business.
When asked about the most valuable principle they’ve learnt during the course, they all agree: being organised and handling money well, even keeping track of the small expenses.
“We Moldovans are not used to that!” admits one. “If we have a big expense we write that down, but small amounts are just being spent very easily and without keeping track—and then we wonder why on paper we have a certain amount of money, but it is simply not there.”
After the game, participants present their business plans and a few receive credit to help them turn their vision for business into reality.
“It is an immensely satisfying thought that this ministry is able to bring transformation in more areas of life than might be obvious at first,” says OM Moldova team member Esther. “It is providing work and an income for those who participate successfully. They are also strengthened and challenged in spiritual and ethical questions. At the same time, the programme to some degree is countering the national problem of excessive emigration and helping to keep families together.”
* Biroului Naţional de Statistică (National Bureau of Statistics)
Credit: OM International · © 2012 OM International