Inspiring Thursday: Elena Crasmari

“Sometimes it is enough to just take a woman by the hand and help her begin her journey.”

Elena Crasmari is a fierce activist for women’s rights: a woman with disabilities who ran for, and earned, a local counselor seat in her home village of Dolna, in Moldova.

As women with disabilities are under-represented in the Moldovan political sphere, her journey is definitely a success story that has had a tremendous impact on the lives of women living in rural Moldova. Indeed, according to UN Women, “Women are under-represented in Moldovan politics and decision-making: only 25 per cent of parliamentarians, 22 per cent of mayors and 27 per cent of district counsellors are female-percentages that don’t meet international benchmarks or the country’s national and international commitments.”

Frustrated by the fact she could not access the village’s medical centre (she couldn’t take the stairs, and had to get on her hands and knees to enter the building,) Elena decided to run for local counselor as an independent candidate, so that she could make the necessary changes to the village. “I wanted to make the first step in proving that people with disabilities have a chance, to help those who are spending most of their lives trapped between four walls at home,” said Elena Crasmari to the UN web series “25 Women”, as part of the Generation Equality campaign, marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

Besides promoting the rights of people with disabilities, Elena has expressed her concern on the limited access to basic infrastructures in her home village, things we may take for granted, but would improve significantly the life standards of Dolna’s inhabitant’s: the absence of an aqueduct, so she can have a clean glass of water on her table every day; proper roads; a sewage system, waste recycling; and more employment opportunities. “I want to give those who have left the village because of its hardships and lack of opportunity a reason to come back.”

At the core of her campaign is the renovation of the medical centre as well as a fully-equipped pharmacy. Part of her campaign’s action aims to make sure all the state institutions, such as the museums, kindergarten, and town hall are all accessible for people with disabilities. Elena’s campaign was definitely not a “piece of cake”. Even though she was fighting for the rights and improved standards for those living in the small village of Dolna, she still had to endure discriminatory behaviours throughout the election process, namely the false belief that those with special needs are useless to society. “But I decided to challenge this with the support of some wonderful people around me,” Elena says proudly. “I did things in a peaceful way, ignored the negativity and went for my goal.”

Elena Crasmari is a charismatic and fierce activist for the rights of women with disabilities. It is both fascinating and inspiring to witness her successful accomplishments!

Written by WAVE intern: Mariana Cunha


UN Women “25 Women”, by UN Women Europe and Central Asia, as part of the Generation Equality campaign, marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action