In his workshop in the Romanian town of Reghin, Mr Moldovan makes violins, cellos and double basses. He learnt the craft from his father-in-law, and with his wife he runs a small business employing two persons. There were always plenty of orders, but the family was unable to meet demand, as there was too little money to purchase machinery and a car to make their work more efficient. The wood used in making the instruments needs to be stored for a year before it can be processed, and so this poses a further challenge. It means a high outlay for storage even before the product can be sold and the family can earn something.
Easier access to credit
In Romania small businesses find it hard to get bank loans. Furthermore, the Moldovans belong to the Roma minority, and so often experience discrimination. Switzerland supports a microcredit programme in the north-west of Romania which benefits Roma and other disadvantaged groups. The project is run jointly with HEKS and the Romanian organisation FAER.
Famous for musical instrument-making
Under the Swiss-sponsored project the Moldovan family has received a loan of EUR 7000. The money must be paid back within five years. Having bought two wood-processing machines and a new vehicle, the family can now work more efficiently and take on more orders. As a result their income has risen and the jobs of their two employees are safe. The family business has a website and a Facebook profile, which helps attract orders from abroad. The Moldovans deliver their instruments personally to ensure that they are not damaged during transport. The town of Reghin has a good reputation both in Romania and abroad as a centre for musical instrument-making.
Thematic fund for the Roma
The project is part of the 'Roma and other disadvantaged groups' thematic fund, with which Switzerland finances a range of projects in Romania to the tune of CHF 14 million. The projects are run by Swiss partners and Romanian organisations.