John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. This quote has inspired many throughout the years, and FLEX alumna Lidia Sanduleac ’09 (Ungheni, Moldova/St. Joseph, MO) is no exception. Lidia was born and raised in Moldova and after her FLEX year in the U.S. she went on to work in journalism and medicine, while volunteering her time to help those in need.  Lidia spent time working in Wuhan, China as a journalist before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in medicine from the Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Romania. Upon finishing her degree, she returned to Moldova with a passion and the tools needed to make a difference in her community.

After seeing many different corners of the world, Lidia was inspired by the various cultures and amazing women she had met along the way to implement the project Femeia SPIA (which translates to Confident, Strong, and Ambitious Woman in Romanian). Femeia SPIA is a pilot project implemented with financial support from the FLEX Alumni Grant program that focuses on providing skills to women in law enforcement to overcome the psychological and social barriers they face in their work.

At the time of publishing this article, 70 women from territorial subdivisions of law enforcement and security forces across Moldova have participated in the project. One of the participants, Oxana Gordas from Balti, told the local media outlet, “Today I participated in a seminar with an interesting and useful topic, especially for ladies working in law enforcement. The SPIA woman, like any other officer in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, must be honest, professional, provide first aid, and have a high level of morality.”

When asked about the goals of the project, Lidia shared that “The aim of this project was based on the United Nations Sustainable Development goal of Women’s Empowerment. We aim to strengthen the capacities and abilities of women in the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.”

The impact of “Femeia SPIA” demonstrates that FLEX Alumni are driven people who aim to solve problems and lift people up within their communities.  This project has been successful in helping empower women within government and will continue to empower women for years to come.

Written by Vlada Mangir ‘19 (Chisinau, Moldova/Krum, TX)