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Diaspora

Stories from diaspora// Iuliana Motologa – a world-class fashion trainer based in Dubai

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This week, we want to introduce to you a very special girl from the Republic of Moldova. Her aspirations have a very exotic and, in the same time, stylish form, literally, because she lives in Dubai and works for one of the most reputable companies in the fashion industry. Her name is Iuliana Motologa.

For the beginning, we asked Iuliana to describe her personality, as nobody could ‘paint’ her portrait better than she does: “I consider myself an ambitious dreamer. I am very passionate in whatever I do in life and people who don’t share my passion might find me strange and hard to understand.” Iuliana puts so much heart and soul in whatever she does. She considers herself loyal, appreciating the same in return. I have a critical eye or let’s call it, a keen eye for perfection that creates a constant inner battle within, between the desired utopia and the acceptable reality. On a different note, behind this determined, self-controlled and independent façade, I am a teenager at heart.”

About fashioning her own dreams

4 years ago, Iuliana took an important and courageous decision: doing a master’s degree remotely, at the University of Liverpool, along with working at one of the top fashion companies in the world. How was it possible to combine them? “With many cups of coffee and countless late nights,” claims Iuliana. “It was a challenging stage of my life that stretched me to the limit and pushed my boundaries further than I could’ve ever imagined they could reach.”

Iuliana always dreamt of having a progressive and smooth learning path, being able to experience the joy and problems of a normal student’s life, as she states.

“My case was different, as I chose to be independent, earn my living and invest in my education, rather than await support from my family.”

Moreover, it wasn’t a sudden decision. It took her around 2 years to understand and decide which path she wanted to follow. First, Iuliana moved to the United Arab Emirates and gained her work experience at a British luxury fashion house. “Having a minimum of 2 years work experience was a criterion for selection in the master’s programme I had chosen in marketing, a degree I knew would help me grow in my desired career path,” says Iuliana.

All of us know or guess how hard it is to study and work in the same time. As Iuliana told us, doing that in the UAE was even more challenging: “My Master’s programme with the University of Liverpool wasn’t flexible at all, as some might think when they hear about distance learning. Our programme was well structured, starting with a clear syllabus and ending with precise and strict deadlines. Just to give you some numbers: there were a total of 8 core modules, each one with a duration of 8 weeks and 2 weeks break in between. In addition, we spent 40 weeks on our final project, conducting our own research and writing the dissertation. We used to spend an average of 25 hours per week studying, apart from the 48 hours of work per week, as per the UAE law.” A simple mathematical calculation, gets us a result of about 73 hours of work per week, that meaning around 10 hours every single day (!) Would you now say that it was so hard for you to do it?

Of course, Iuliana had her own methods to resist to such a workload. “To keep me sane, I was trying to travel as much as I could in the 2 weeks of University breaks, scheduling a holiday from work at the same time. I frequently went on ‘wellness retreats’ to tropical destinations or to explore new countries,” recalls Iuliana.

About the benefits of working as a trainer in the fashion industry

“Ever since I had my first interview with my employer in 2014, I expressed a wish to develop myself in this direction, and I started from scratch, learning everything, as a sales assistant.” This is how Iuliana describes her beginnings at the company she is currently working at.

Today, she holds the position of a fashion trainer for Middle East and India. “Now I work for the fashion division, training retail teams on product and brand knowledge with a deep focus on client experience, it’s the best job ever! I interact on a daily basis with more than 35 nationalities, people of different ages, cultures and seniority levels, based in several countries across the region. I constantly learn exciting new things about them,” claims Iuliana.

Iuliana discovered her passion for training over the course of working as a sales assistant: “There was no job opening, and I had no idea where my passion will take me. I just continued doing what I loved the most for almost two years, never failing to complete my official job’s tasks.” And she really loves her job. “What I like the most about my job is that I’m changing my role from coach to trainer and facilitator depending on the situation. The longer I am in the role, the more I realize that my job is not just to pass new information to the audience, but often, to launch new ideas for discussion and facilitate the course of communication.”

The main benefits of working for one of the best companies in the fashion industry, according to Iuliana, is to be surrounded by the best people and that every day, she comes to work with positive thoughts and a smile on her face.

Her job enables Iuliana to have an active lifestyle.  “I travel often and even when I’m in the country, I don’t sit in front of the computer from 9 to 6. Luckily, my job is dynamic and also creative to some extent, which means I’d be on the phone, driving, changing locations, meeting different people, organizing training sessions etc. 60% of my time is preparation and the rest is delivery.”

“I’m very lucky to be able to travel for work to places like Beirut, Delhi, Doha, Kuwait, Paris and Amsterdam. At times, I choose to extend my weekend and explore the city. When I come back to Dubai, I prefer to have relaxing weekends, catch up with friends, and go to my Salsa classes.” Iuliana reveals that she is in a constant quest for an interesting sport activity, which she would share with a friend.

About living in a completely different world

Iuliana lives in Dubai – a fast-paced city that can host people of any nationality, with any preferences and lifestyle. “There are so many things to try and activities to embrace in Dubai. You can enjoy yoga, surfing, sport kite, Latino dances, horse-riding, dune bashing etc. The comment that most of expats will tell you is that there is not enough time to practice all of them. Time is money indeed and we can all feel it here,” states Iuliana.

Iuliana says that a must-have thing in such a city is a car. “The city is spread out. So, having a car is essential for getting around easily although there is a public transport system. It’s much more convenient and comfortable to have your own vehicle, especially in the hot summer months.”

She was only 22 when she moved to Dubai. Iuliana lived in Moldova until she turned 19, went to USA through a summer programme in Texas, studied in Northern Italy for a bit less than a year and had an internship in Switzerland. “The latter one was an eye-opening experience that planted the wanderlust seed in my heart. It equipped me with courage to tap into the Middle Eastern world.”

Her views and mindset suffered a big transformation since she moved to Dubai. “I tend to think that this change has left a major footprint on who I am today. I’ve learned to keep my mind open and my face straight when talking to someone from a different background,” she says.

Iuliana entered a diverse new colourful world. “There is not one single Arab culture. There are multiple cultures that translate in different behaviours, dialects, and traditions within this region. The Arab world is composed of so many countries from North Africa to the Asian continent, and what was a surprise for me is that, sometimes they don’t even understand each other’s Arabic sentences because of the dialect. The Gulf countries remain a mystery for me, as I had only professional interaction with true locals, but I can tell you about Lebanese, Syrians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Palestinians, Moroccans, Iraqi, Iranians who have one thing in common: the love for food, and their food is absolutely delicious!” Our protagonist says that she was able to give up on the traditional Moldovan “plăcinte”, for the food she tried there.

People of Arabic cultures are friendly, light-hearted, and very warm, as Iuliana states.

“They are very passionate (pretty much like me), but short-temper people. You’d hear many times them saying: “do not awaken the Arab within me.”

Still, there are things she didn’t manage to get used to: “Until today, I can’t get used to the fact that the work week starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday.”

About her short escapades to Moldova

“I come back home once every 4-5 months to see my dear family. Luckily, they are all in one place, so I get to see them all at once. Most of my friends have moved abroad though, and we try to meet regularly somewhere in Europe.” Iuliana prefers coming home in summer or for New Year. “All of my trips back home must include a visit to one of the wineries, or a rustic restaurant somewhere outside Chișinău. I enjoy taking my family out and pampering them while I’m at home.”

Iuliana highlights the big contrasts between Chișinău and Dubai in terms of nature and the taste of fruits and vegetables in summer. “The number of trees and the intensity of the fresh air is something I can’t neglect when coming from Dubai to Chișinău. The flavour of our fruits and vegetables in summer and all the organic options sold in the outdoor markets is something I constantly long for while living in Dubai.” Yet, the gloomy atmosphere is noticed by Iuliana as well: “When I’m in Moldova, I can sense a deep melancholy and nostalgia surrounding people passing by.”

About her future plans

Iuliana is not going to leave Dubai any time soon. “Dubai has been my settled place for a longer period of time (5 years and a half now to be exact). This place has offered me so many opportunities I could maybe only dream of at my age.”

“I’ve invested so much of my time and efforts into what I have now, that for the moment, I just want to enjoy the fruits of my work without thinking of where is ‘next’? Unless an opportunity falls on top of my head out of nowhere.”

As Iuliana says, a lot of things have changed as compared to 8 years ago when she would’ve left everything to move to the US. “I don’t think and wish the same anymore.”

For now, she dreams of learning horse riding and eventually buy a horse. “My father might laugh while reading this, because this is what the 5 years old Iuliana always wanted. I would love to learn how to ride a horse professionally and even buy my own horse eventually.” There is one more thing: “I want to ensure a peaceful life for my parents and show them the world. I’m determined to do that.”

Photos: personal archive

Opinion

Survey// Popular COVID-19 fake news in Moldova and people’s (dis)information sources

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More and more Moldovans have to deal with fake news every day. Unfortunately, a part of population believes them. According to a survey conducted by the WatchDog.MD community, in cooperation with CBS Research, the degree of acceptance of various false statements indicates an extremely high level of trust in such manipulations among Moldovan citizens.

For example, when asked about quite a few popular fake statements that circulate the whole world regarding the novel coronavirus, the survey participants answered the following:

  • 50.4% of respondents believe that the virus is no more dangerous than a flu and that it was intentionally made to destroy the economy;
  • 37.8% of respondents admitted that the virus was created by Bill Gates, in order to introduce nano-chips in the bodies and control them;
  • 37,2% of questioned people think that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese laboratory;
  • 35,9% of them said the pandemic is an excuse to impose a global Government that will rule the whole world;
  • 33,4% of participants consider garlic a remedy for coronavirus;
  • 32.7% of persons who answered the survey dangerously consider that the virus is a myth and everything is just a lie;
  • 32,3% of them are sure that only old people get infected and die;
  • 32,2% of survey participants believe that democratic regimes have bigger troubles with managing the crisis than the dictatorial ones;
  • 29.7% of persons said the EU will collapse due to the novel virus;
  • 28.8% of respondents fear the COVID-19 tests are already infected when getting tested.

And these are, by far, not all false statements some Moldovans declared as being true during the survey. Some respondents think that the virus is spread in the Republic of Moldova through the 5G technology (11.7%), even though there is no such technology used in the country yet. Others claimed that the European Union didn’t offer any support to Moldova during the pandemic crisis (21.3%), despite the existing facts they can easily check.

Out of 1003 respondents, only one denied absolutely all false or manipulating statements.

At the same time, 45% of the Moldovan citizens who answered the opinion poll don’t trust at all or trust very little the World Health Organisation as a source of information. 5.2% of them don’t even know anything about the organisation.

When it comes to the local information sources, the survey respondents claimed that they merely find out what’s new by watching TV (77.2%), by accessing web pages (42.2%), various social media platforms (35.7%), such as Facebook, Odnoklasniki, Instagram and Vkontakte, or talk to family members (12.7%), friends and neighbours (15.1%).

Another important aspect is that only 1.4% of respondents inform themselves in any other language than Romanian, Russian or both. Even so, 16.3% of survey participants said it is rather hard or very hard for them to understand what news are accurate and whether the information presented is true or not.

A crucial source of disinformation for people of Moldova, which is not mentioned in the options of the survey though, is the church. Lately, the Moldovan Orthodox Church spread dangerous fakes about COVID-19 vaccination, nano-chipping and 5G.

See also: The Moldovan Orthodox Church spread dangerous fakes about COVID-19 vaccination, nano-chipping and 5G

**

The survey was conducted at the national level between May 5-11, being part of the project “Facilitating crisis communication and accountability as a civic response to COVID-19 pandemic in Moldova”. It was implemented with the support of the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation of the German Marshall Fund and involved 1003 persons aged 18 years and over.

The study measured political trends, geo-political preferences, media consumption, as well as the impact of manipulative rhetoric, false news and conspiracy theories in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Lukas Blazek| Unsplash

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Economy

3 UN agencies will receive 1 million dollars for supporting the most vulnerable COVID-19 patients from Moldova

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Three United Nations (UN) agencies from Moldova – UNICEF, UN Women and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will receive one million dollars from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support the country in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release of the UN in Moldova.

The agencies are involved in a programme lasting for 6 months and aiming to ensure effective and accessible health services for COVID-19 patients in Moldova, with a focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged persons. 

Mainly, the funds will be used for purchase of personal protective equipment for health and non-health institutions, such as hospitals, police, border police, penitentiaries, social assistance centres and others “in order to ensure efficient and safe provision of public services during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Additionally, such supplies as sanitisers, protective supplies, food packages (for at least two months), soap, etc. will be transmitted to the most vulnerable groups of women from Moldova, including women affected by violence, women living in shelters, HIV and AIDS positive women, disabled women, and Romani women.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection data, out of the total of 7147 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Moldova, 59% are represented by women. Most infected women are between 40 and 69 years old. 67 infected women are pregnant.

Photo: UN Moldova

“The global epidemic of COVID-19 poses a clear risk to the health and well-being of the Republic of Moldova. Within this project, the control and management of the infection at the border control points of the country will be strengthened by updating and disseminating of international standards-compliant operating procedures for detection, notification, isolation, management and referral of travellers potentially infected with coronavirus, delivering necessary training for the border police officers, providing necessary supplies to screen the incoming citizens to prevent the spread of the disease,” is mentioned in the press release.

The United Nations in Moldova has been supporting the Government of Moldova and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection in three main areas: health system preparedness, technical support and capacity building, and risk information and communication on COVID-19 under the guidance of WHO Moldova.

The United Nations (UN) COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund is a UN inter-agency finance mechanism launched by the UN Secretary-General to support low- and middle- income programme countries in overcoming the health and development crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund’s assistance targets those most vulnerable to economic hardship and social disruption.

The fund is currently supported by the Governments of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Photo: Iran Press

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Culture

Generation C – a documentary by Moldova.org about shepherding in Moldova and Georgia // VIDEO

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At the end of January, Moldova.org presented the premiere of the documentary Generation C, a film about an occupation that was passed on from father to son – shepherding.

The documentary tells the story of Vaso and Anatolie – two men, one from the Georgian mountains and another from the south of Moldova – and displays the activity of their lives, that of their fathers, grandparents and great-grandparents. But will it be inherited by their sons as well?

Anatolie Ciobanu (his name is translated as shepherd) lives in Alexandru Ioan Cuza village, Cahul district. He has several hundred sheep and says he may run out of them one day.

Vaso Gulelauri lives in Lalisquri Village, Telavi, Georgia with his family. When he is not taking care of sheep and is not at home, he spends his time in the mountains. He has never been to the sea, because he loves the mountains too much.

In the last 20 years, the number of sheep in the Republic of Moldova has almost halved. The same thing happened in Georgia. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia had about two million sheep. Now, the figure reaches one million only.

The documentary can be watched below:

„Generation C” documentary (english subtitles)

Prieteni, astăzi publicăm documentarul „Generația C” subtitrat în limba engleză! Deci vă invităm să-l distribuiți și să-l arătați prietenilor voștri care nu vorbesc româna sau georgiana și rusa. ^_^Într-o eră a Internetului, vitezei și industrializării, doi ciobani, unul moldovean, altul georgian, ne-au împărtășit istoriile lor și ne-au vorbit despre tradiția transmisă lor de bunicii și tații lor.Pe lângă imaginile pitorești, bucuria celor doi este că încă mai pot împărtăși această cutumă cu fii lor. Dar oare vor fi cei doi oieri și ultima generație de ciobani din familiile lor? Găsiți răspunsul în documentarul nostru, „Generația C”.

Geplaatst door Moldova.org op Maandag 18 mei 2020

This text is a translation. The original article here.

Photos: Moldova.org| Tatiana Beghiu

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