On August 9, 2022, Genevieve Fitzgibbon, Deputy Director of Keystone Human Services International, Ludmila Malcoci, Regional Director of Keystone Human Services International and Executive Director of Keystone Moldova, and Nicolae Ciocan, Director of Administration for Keystone Moldova, met with Kent D. Logsdon, the US Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, as well as Christian Burstall, Political Officer for the US Embassy in Moldova, and Erin Doss, Deputy Director of USAID Office of Democracy and Governance in Moldova. We have a common goal of advancing human rights and ensuring people with disability are included in all aspect of society.
We know Keystone and your work in Moldova well, mentioned the Ambassador. Keystone Moldova has made a significant impact in deinstitutionalization and community building over the past decades. I know that your work intersects with several parts of our mission.
The discussion centered around the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), our mission of creating inclusive communities and building a better world, and our work in Moldova around equality and access to rights for people with disability.
Keystone Moldova has been operating in Moldova as a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) for almost 20 years, working toward the social inclusion of people with disabilities across all aspects of life and society. Headquartered in Chișinău, our regional operations and activities are driven by local leadership, creating a successful, sustainable model for effecting inclusive systems change.
We focus on alternatives to institutionalization and all of the community building that goes along with it—inclusive social policies and legal framework, development of community-based services, inclusive education, and inclusive employment. We also work to change public attitudes about people with disability, working with the media, public authorities, and civil society organizations, as well as self-advocates, to make sure people with disability are respected and have full access to exercise their rights.
As our recent efforts partnering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and government of Moldova on inclusive emergency response plans reveal, it’s critical for policies and resulting infrastructure changes to consider accessibility and the needs and rights of people with disabilities. The war in Ukraine is bringing to light opportunities to build forward to create truly inclusive communities and partner with people with disability and disability-led organizations. Relationships and partnerships have been a key piece of providing support for refugees in Moldova and they’ll be an essential part of restructuring in the future.
Even as we map and address the needs to refugees with disabilities within Moldova, we are continuing to support and promote equality and opportunities for rich community lives for Moldovans with disability.
We’re pleased to have this opportunity to share our work and our shared goals with Ambassador Logsdon as we work toward a more inclusive world.