From Fresh Start to Successful Small Enterprise
Moldovan Refugees Create Tailoring and Alterations Business


Mircea Vatamanu grew up as a Romanian-speaking Jew in Moldova and that wasn't always easy. He lived most of his life in fear of being persecuted either for his ethnic identity or the language he spoke. In this small Eastern European republic, the authorities do not look kindly upon those who are different and who refuse to change their identity according to the party line. For many like Mircea, the United States was always a safe haven, the land in which they and their families would be able to speak their language, practice their religion and be who they wanted to be without fear of persecution. In the US he would not be fired because of his Jewish ancestry or because he was overheard speaking Romanian.


His dream became a reality with the help of Opening Doors. The staff at ODI helped complete the family reunification process which allowed Mircea and his family to come to the United States. Once they reached the land of the free, Opening Doors ensured they received all of the services for which they were eligible and helped them take advantage of all the opportunities available. We assisted them in completing the welfare and social security paperwork and in finding ESL and employment training programs. With this assistance they were able to settle in the new life comfortably.


They adjusted so well that in 2007 Mircea and his wife, Larisa, decided they were ready to start their own business. Once again, they came to the people who they knew would be best able to help them, Opening Doors. Our staff assisted with all the formalities and also provided a small loan to supplement the savings the Vatamanu's were investing in their business. With this help and their determination to succeed, Mircea and Larisa established their own very successful tailoring and alterations shop. "Opening Doors opened our eyes to many open doors in America" Mircea says in his usual humorous way. "We would've had a much tougher time adjusting without them. It was also a great pleasure working with the staff." The staff is also pleased and honored to have been able to assist in the success of hardworking and determined individuals like Mr. Mircea Vatamanu.


June, 2010