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Stories of transformation >> Victor & Lilea Chifiac - Recipients of 2010 Lydia Award
Victor & Lilea Chifiac - Recipients of 2010 Lydia Award (05.06.2010)

Victor & Lilea Chifiac

Location: Sarata-Mereseni

Family: Married with eight children

Occupation: Pastor of Protestant church

Business: Greenhouse agricultural production and market sales of imported goods

Loans from Invest Credit: 9 (two a year since 2006 following cyclical farming patterns)

Loan Amounts: $620 and $2750 in 2006, $1375 and $1665 in 2007,

$1750 and $2500 in 2008, $2333 and $2916 in 2009, $2916 in 2010

Entrepreneurial Impact of the Loans:

The loans provided by Invest Credit have enabled Victor and Lilea Chifiac to grow a successful agricultural business and expand into import sales. Though Victor and Lilea, due to their Christian faith, were denied an education by the former Soviet government of Moldova, these two have worked diligently to provide for their family of ten. In 2006, Victor attended one of Invest Credit’s Christian seminars and decided to apply for his first loan. This loan and the resulting relationship formed with Invest-credit have provided capital necessary for expansion, the training to learn more effective farming techniques, and the support to continue to develop his business.

His agricultural skills were inherited from his father, but today Victor uses more advanced technological systems in his fields and greenhouses, including modern irrigation and heating techniques. He was able to purchase the supplies necessary for expansion and improvement through Invest-credit loans. More effective methods of production have not only led to an increased output, but they have also led to an earlier harvest. Victor, Lilea, and their children sell their vegetables in the nearby town of Hincesti. Because some of their produce is ready for sale at the earliest point of the season, Victor and Lilea are able to take advantage of the higher market prices. With such a large family, the Chifiacs are able to sell their produce at many locations in Hincesti, including their permanent location at the market in Hincesti.

Four years after starting their agricultural business and right about the time they were introduced to Invest-credit, Victor and Lilea decided to expand their operations to include watermelon production. Armed with additional capital from an Invest-credit loan and their own savings, Victor and Lilea purchased watermelon seeds and more land. All the Chifiac children have helped with the business, and three local workers are hired annually during the busiest parts of the season.

In the past year, Victor and Lilea have expanded their business to cater to a new market segment. In addition to their produce, they now sell imported German toiletries at their booth in the market. One of their daughters, now living in Germany, serves as their purchaser and sends the toiletries to them.

Family and Community Impact:

Victor and Lilea’s business has provided the income necessary to support their own seven children (ages 13-25) and their one adopted child (age 10). Having been denied an education, it was important to Victor and Lilea that their children have the opportunity to pursue higher education. To date, four of the children have already attended university. With steady income, Victor and Lilea have been able to purchase a car to transport their vegetables to the market. They have also been able to replace their wood burning soba with gas heating. In addition to providing for their own family, the success of the business has enabled Victor and Lilea to hire three of their neighbors for seasonal labor.

Spiritual Impact:

Victor’s grandfather was the first believer in Sarata-Mereseni, and the legacy of faith has continued in the lives of Victor, Lilea, and their children. Victor and three other men from his village worked together to construct the church that Victor now pastors. The congregation is comprised of about seventy people. Lilea served as a dedicated Sunday school teacher for many years. One of their daughters helps lead worship, though all of their children are involved in some way. Victor and Lilea are faithful to tithe 10% weekly to their church, and along with managing his business, Victor commits at least two hours a day to ministry.

Future Ambitions:

Victor and Lilea have goals for future expansion. Recently they were the second place winners of the Lydia Award, put forth by Invest-Credit’s partners Peer Servants. They were awarded $1000, exactly the amount needed to build a well on their farm. In the future, they are hoping to be able to build an additional greenhouse that implements more modern technology. The greenhouse would cover 0.4 hectares of land and produce the same vegetables the rest of their greenhouses and fields produce. With enough funding, this greenhouse would be built with galvanized metal instead of wood, creating better air circulation and extending the life of the greenhouse by two or three years. They would also like to equip this greenhouse with gas heating instead of a wood fire. With better regulations of temperature, particularly in the spring, the Chifiacs would be able to start selling their produce in mid-April for about 30 lei/kg instead of having to wait until late May when the produce will bring in only about 4-5 lei/kg. This expansion all depends on access to additional funding. As Victor explained, “We have the desire to work—we just need more access to money. We have faith that in the future we will have the opportunity to grow.”