Two young, until recently unemployed and single mothers from Bijelo Polje, through the UNDP pilot project “Activate”, implemented by Help, got and used opportunity to find a jobs that fundamentally changed their lives.
Lejla Erović is a 25-year-old single mother – a customs technician by profession, has been registered at the Employment Office as unemployed. The program “Activate through training and mentoring” and as she stresses, “first off all” mentor Danijela Armuš, opened the door to her for training though working for the job of assistant accountant in the SUKI car service in Bijelo Polje. Six months after moving from Bar to Bijelo Polje, she got what she says is her “dream job”, for which she has a one-year contract – and she believes she will keep it after that. She is happy at work, and the employer is satisfied with her work, and fair to her.
“As unemployed for some time, I attended your motivational workshops for work activation. We also have a group on viber, where Danijela (Armuš), our mentor, regularly sent us links to websites that we can visit, in order to find a suitable job. That’s how an opportunity opened up for me, so I decided to respond to a job ad at the SUKI car service. I had training from April 1 to May 13, which I successfully completed and thus got this job,” Lejla told us.
As she says, she is “more than satisfied” with her job.
“I have excellent communication and cooperation with the coleagues in the service and work here, where I was given the opportunity to work and learn a good and interesting job. My colleagues are excellent and cooperative, they help me a lot, so I am very satisfied”.
From the point of view of Lejla Erović, the pilot program “Activate” fundamentally changed her life in a positive direction.
“The motivational workshops were very good, we learned a lot of good things there. For me a problem was the lack of courage to take that first step, and the workshops with a lot of young people, where we gave each other support and motivation, but also exchanged different experiences, helped me a lot”.
Work with the trainer from the workshops, communication specialist Radoje Cerović, and Help’s mentor Danijela Armuš, according to Lejla Erović, helped them immensely in discovering and opening new opportunities for the young and unemployed.
“If it wasn’t for that, I would probably still be wandering and looking for a job from one place to another.”
Lejla’s previous work experience was seasonal in the Bar, in a bakery and in a restaurant kitchen, but with the improvement of her job as an accountant’s assistant, she is very satisfied and would like it to be her permanent job. This was a new work experience in which, right from the training itself, she immediately found herself at ease and was happy to learn everything – a new software program, price leveling, and more – everything that the job of an assistant accountant entails.
“For now, I have signed a contract for one year. However, as things are developing and the fact that I have an excellent relationship with my employer, I am satisfied and they are satisfied with my work, I have a high hope for permanent employment. I really tried and I try to do my best, to learn and acquire routines in this job – I like it. It is the first job that I liked and I am very satisfied, so I hope that we will continue and renew the contract latter on. Now I just want to improve my skills as much as possible in this job, in order to become really good at it”.
“I think I found the job of my dreams, so to speak,” says Lejla Erović with a smile. She has a son with whom she lives alone and who goes to kindergarten. “Everything finally came together, much better than I had hoped,” this young woman told us, who now, instead of social security aid, lives off her hard work – with satisfaction.
Aleksandra Šćekić, single mother, tourist technician – has been registered with the Employment Service for a year, because she lost her job due to the consequences of COVID-19. Program “Activate yourself through training and mentoring” program and mentor Danijela Armuš motivated her to apply for the Job Fair. In the pastry shop ADI in Bijelo Polje, she is on the training at work as a bartender.
In parallel, every day after the end of the first shift, she goes to the close town Berane, where from 4 to 7 p.m. she also attends training for a teaching assistant – she would like to work with children.
“It’s great in any case, but if it weren’t for the UNDP project, Help and Danijela, I wouldn’t have achieved any of this,” says Šćekić.
For a year, she reported to the bureau as unemployed, because she lost her job as a surplus during the corona pandemic – she worked for a well-known chain of cosmetic and drug stores (House of chemical).
“Since I was regularly looking for a job, I had the opportunity to participate in this program, where we had extraordinary motivational workshops, now Dr. Cerović, during which we learned a lot of things that we didn’t know before – especially when it comes to communication, but also to meet our great mentor Danijela Armuš from Help. Her daily contact, motivation and work with us, in groups and individually, were crucial in our search for work and new opportunities. She helped us to prepare and report to the Employment Fair. It was at that fair that I found this job where I was accepted for training as a bartender, and where after three months I will receive a certificate for a bartender and be hired. ”
Aleksandra Šćekić made an extra effort and took part in another training, not in her own town but in the neighboring one, and she travels there every day after finishing her shift at the ADI bistro shop in Bijelo Polje.
“Parallel to this job, Help and my mentor Danijela enabled me to attend the training for a teaching assistant, which takes place in Berane, and I travel there by bus every day after the end of my shift here, where I work until 3 pm. In Berane, we have training from 4 pm until 7 in the evening and it’s wonderful for us. But really, if it wasn’t for this project and Help and Danijela, I wouldn’t have achieved any of this”.
Both Aleksandra and Lejla express special gratitude to their mentor Danijela Armuš, who was their driving force.
“She was persistent with all of us, as a group and individually, she opened up to us and showed us all the opportunities that arose and motivated us to apply. Three of us, beneficiaries of the project going to training from Bijelo Polje for Berane every day, and the Employment Office approved it for us. I really have to thanks to Daniela”.
When asked how, as a single mother, she manages to go to two trainings and the work, she says behind it is a “really good organization”.
“There is a kindergarten, there are grandparents, and somehow we managae . It is better to start from something than to sit at home. When you start from something, you can always look for something new and better. I’ve started in the tourist industry as a tourist technician, and then, after completing my training as a teaching assistant, there is a chance that I could get a job there as of September 1st. My child also starts school in the fall. Apart from being a mom, I also love children very much and would like to work with them”.
In that case, working in the pastry shop would be an additional source of income for her, and she wants to keep it, especially becaus, after a three-month training, she committed herself to nine months of work, and she wants to keep her promise.Also, the staff at the ADI pastry shop is also very good.
All the other participants of the pilot project Activate, in the contacts we had with them, about the impressions of this program, expressed their special gratitude to the mentors. Along with Help’s Danijela, for the young mothers and unemployed beneficiaries of material security (MO), according to their words, great help had been provide by the other mentors – Marija Ružić Stajović, Ivana Tomašević and Marina Došen.
UNDP and Help implemented a pilot project within the Activate! program, whose main goal is to help young and unemployed people up to the age of 35 to find employment more easily and quickly, through personal activation and engagement – working on themselves and their work profile.
Photo author: Marko Ilić