From Where I Stand: Victoria Luca
Victoria overcame prejudices about being a Roma woman and is now a promoter of women’s rights and equality.
Date: 08 April 2017
“When I was three and a half, my father left us. It was devastating for my mother both psychologically and financially. Despite her nursing training, she couldn’t find a job in Moldova because of social stereotypes about Roma women. She decided to leave for Russia in search of work but couldn’t find a job there as well.
Applying for a work permit was costly and so was returning home. We were trapped in a foreign country, penniless, with no shelter or support. I was four, but I vividly remember my mother crying at a bus stop. It was cold and raining and I was wiping her tears with my sleeve.
I was six when I received a book of illustrated stories from my mother. It brightened my day. But also made me realize that I must get an education for a better future for us.
Thanks to a stranger who bought us tickets, we were able to get back to Moldova. I started school but it wasn’t easy without preschool education. I had to also overcome my classmates’ prejudices about Roma. But I had a higher goal in mind – to fight for women's rights. This is when I realized I wanted to study law.
After high-school, I attended law school and later got my Master’s at Central European University in Budapest. I returned home to champion social integration of women from minority groups and repatriated women.
I stand up for the rights of Roma women and their ability to be financially independent. However, this can only be achieved through education and employment. Another issue that Roma women face is their lack of confidence, which they need to overcome.
Victoria Luca is a promoter of women’s rights and equality. Her work contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 5 on gender equality and Goal 10 on reduced inequalities. This article is part of the campaign “Zoralé jiuvlia” (“strong women” in Romani) promoting success stories of Roma women and girls, by UN Women Moldova.
Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.