MARA Woman is an NGO from the Republic of Moldova, Eastern Europe, aiming to empower women in the rural areas by providing them with education and a place to work. In 2013 we were able to create a small studio in Scoreni village, with the financial help of donations from hundreds of individual supporters and a few companies. We create beautiful knitted clothing, accessories and home decor pieces, helping local women earn a living. The profit is used to implement social projects that empower the women and youth in the rural areas and improve the living standards for everyone.
The day when the idea of creating MARA Woman came to our mind was the day when… we saw so much unexplored potential that Scoreni village has to offer. An open community that was ready to help us start our project. People willing to get involved and be a part of our adventure, through good and bad times and I guess most important with women that trusted us, a freshly registered association, with their time and future.
If you are curious why we have chosen this name, you should know that the name “MARA” is inspired by the main character of one of the most important Romanian novels in nineteenth-century, with the same title, written by Ioan Slavici. It depicts the courage of a woman living through various hardships in rural Romania.
MARA Woman had an interesting beginning and probably one of our greatest challenges was to find financial resources to start and a place for our studio, but we believe these are some challenges all start-ups are facing. MARA was very fortunate to have lots of people willing to contribute and with the help European East-Foundation and the village Lyceum “Universul” administration we were able to have a solid start creating a successful story for Moldovan entrepreneurship.
We were confident that there will be people who would trust us and would give us a hand of help, because MARA is not only about business. Moldova has a high rate of migration of women abroad due to lack of opportunities in their communities. The migration of women is not only an economic problem, that the country loses an important component of labor by their inability to create opportunities, but also a serious social problem. Women leave their families and as a result their children grow up in an unhealthy environment. Giving these women a possibility to find a job home, in their communities, be close to their family, is probably the greatest thing MARA is aiming to keep on doing.
What does exactly MARA Woman do? It’s about helping local women earn a living. Yes, we create beautiful knitted clothing, accessories and home decor pieces, but is important to keep in mind that a big part of our profit is used to implement social projects that empower women and youth in the rural areas and improve the living standards for everyone.
Every person who is somehow connected to MARA Woman is a person who appreciates qualitative hand created things and has a big heart for social empowerment. People that do support us, and it doesn’t really matter if they are our customers or donors, are usually, in time become our friends, and we do our best to keep our friends happy and inspired.
The women who are involved in creating these accessories and clothes are women who are in the biggest need of a job, women from social vulnerable families, single mothers etc., giving them the opportunity to work in their communities. Our women are often mothers with one or more children. We have tailored our working program according to the kindergarten schedule, so they could still manage to take care of their children.
When one wears anything labeled MARA Woman, this person feels more inspired to do good things. Every item you choose is knitted within days and can be delivered to your doorstep. We have handmade knits and articles knitted using our special equipment. They are not automatic, so everything we produce, still goes under the handmade category, as there is a lot effort until they are done. And everything we do, we do it because it brings us joy.
MARA’s plans? Unfortunately through this year we realize that our local market is a little bit smaller than our expectations, this is why we want to extend on the international market, using all kind of online platforms. We already had some orders coming from Moldovans that live abroad and we kind of liked the idea of becoming exporters, so, for the future we want to keep doing that.