Towards their dreams

The Find your way to the world of work project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment.

Ever since the youth mentors of Caritas Alba Iulia have been guiding young people’s career path through the Find Your Way to the World of Work programme, countless transylvanian teenagers were able to discover their individual skills, develop their abilities and complete their secondary school studies. Many of them have passed their graduation exams, are preparing for evening classes or university, and some of them are already working. Barna Lukács, Dániel Dobondi, Noémi Tófalvi, Csilla Virág and Blanka Barabás are among them. They are cheerful young people, living in Gheorgheni, Zetea, Odorheiu Secuiesc, Sânpaul and Cristuru Secuiesc. They all have big dreams and are working hard to achieve them. How did they get here and what are their plans? – they tell us.

Why did you take part in the project?

Barna Lukács: Because I liked the way mentors held activities for us in school. I joined the programme three years ago, at the beginning of ninth grade. I liked the brain teasers, logical tasks and board games the most.
Dániel Dobondi: I found it very interesting. Friends have told me that they went on trips frequently, the companionship is very good, and one can learn a lot. They were right.
Noémi Tófalvi: Because I wanted to find a job. I thought that was the only thing mentors did. Then I found that there were way more opportunities in the programme.
Csilla Virág: Because mentors – who came to our school to present the programme – aroused my interest. I started to have individual conversations with them. I was glad that I could get to know myself better and I hope I will find my way, soon.
Blanka Barabás: I joined the programme because it offered support and development opportunities.

–What were your biggest concerns as a young person not engaged in education, employment or training?

Barna Lukács: I had to move away from my home village, because there was no school, no work opportunities and my parents were divorced, too. It was hard to be alone. In all those three years I went to school, one of my biggest fears was that I would fail a subject. Unfortunately, it happened once. I was also afraid that I wouldn’t have a place to live and find a job in the country.
Dániel Dobondi: I do not feel that I had any difficulties or fears worth mentioning.
Noémi Tófalvi: When I couldn’t go to school, one of my biggest fears was that I would miss out on something I would find difficult or impossible to catch up on later.
Csilla Virág: When I went to school, transportation was my biggest problem. Traveling by bus was too expensive, so I commuted by train. I got up at 5.30 a.m., walked four kilometers to the station and the same distance back, every day. It was exhausting. I regretted not moving to a boarding school, because then I wouldn’t have had to travel so much and I could have had more fun. I could have gone to folk dance classes, played football and badminton.
Blanka Barabás: When I started the programme, I still went to school. It was hard to pay attention to keep up with both.

– What did our project enable you to do?

Barna Lukács: A lot of experience, expertise and useful knowledge. I was able to participate in camps, meet people and learn Romanian better. I received support to go to the dentist. Thanks to the programme, I finished school and found a job. I recently passed my vocational exams and now I am officially a car mechanic. I have been working in my profession for a month and a half and I love my job. At the moment the programme contributes to my housing, so that I can continue living and working in Gheorgheni.
Dániel Dobondi: Multi-faceted development in the fields of communication, getting to know people, working in a team, adaptation and acceptance.
Noémi Tófalvi: I had the opportunity to meet new people in the thematic clubs and camps where I gained experiences that will be useful in life. During individual conversations and other programmes, I had the opportunity to set new goals and get to know myself better.
Csilla Virág: Thanks to the programme, I was able to take extra math lessons, which I really needed, otherwise I wouldn’t have passed my final exams.
Blanka Barabás: It showed me the importance of caring and listening to each other; that there is something good in everyone, including me; that blossoming is not a sin; that it is okay to belong to a community, to be open, accepting and accepted. At the same time, I had the opportunity to finish a hairdressing course, which is the first step towards the life I want to live.

– What did you learn while participating in our project?

Barna Lukács: I learned self-control, gained confidence and got to know myself better. I developed my personal and communication skills. I learned to notice when people are struggling with problems and to help them, too. I can concentrate and work in a group better.
Dániel Dobondi: Whenever I went to a session, I always learned something new and met people. I know that all these experiences and contacts will benefit me in the future.
Noémi Tófalvi: The programmes taught me communication, camera handling techniques, CV writing, job searching strategies and prepared me for job interviews. I have improved my self-awareness, increased my self-esteem and I am mindful of valuing others.
Csilla Virág: I got to know myself better. Mostly because of the conversations I had with the mentors, but also because of the self-awareness tests, board games and vocational camps where I could try out different professions. I don’t know yet what I want to learn in the future, but I do know what I don’t. Beauty industry, for example, is not for me. I am interested in environmental protection. I love the nature and try to take care of its purity. I pick up the rubbish when I see it lying around. I admit that there was a time when I was littering. I also like numbers, and I like working with people. I would like to have a job where I can add something to the world.
Blanka Barabás: I learned that existence is not equal with life.

– What are your plans for the future?

Barna Lukács: I would like to enroll for an evening course in interior design. This takes two years. After that, I can take my final exams. Then I want to get a driver’s license, buy a car and a house. I would like to work abroad.
Dániel Dobondi: I would like to graduate and get a very good, secure job.
Noémi Tófalvi: I have bigger and bigger plans, such as working abroad as an Au Pair, travelling, meeting new cultures, volunteering.
Csilla Virág: I would like to go to a university, but I don’t know yet what faculty to choose. I would like to move to Cluj Napoca. It seems scary, but cool at the same time. In the summer I would like to do some seasonal work: waitressing or sales, because they are in demand. But I would also like to go to camps. I would like to learn to drive a car.
Blanka Barabás: In the future I would like to work in my own beauty salon and publish my book.

– How are young people living in Europe today?

Barna Lukács: I think, there are a lot of opportunities for young people in Europe today, including jobs and projects. Everyone lives differently, but if one would like to work, can find a job. At the beginning it’s hard, but if you have the drive, the strength and the will, you can progress. It’s hard when you have no place to live and earning a living is a constant problem. Another difficulty for many of us is the lack of experience and poor language skills.
Dániel Dobondi: In my opinion, young people today are not in their best period. They are always staring at their phone screens. I find that there is little physical contact in between people. We become more and more absorbed by the digital world without noticing how deep we are. Today for young people it’s important to earn a lot of money in a short time with little effort. Hard school subjects and the graduating exams are some other difficulties.
Noémi Tófalvi: Europe offers many opportunities for young people to travel and develop. But in terms of work, it is difficult for a young person without experience: they earn low wages, they find it difficult to support themselves and hardly have any time for fun and rest.
Csilla Virág: Today, a young person has to meet a lot of expectations. They are expected to behave like an adult, to know what they want, where they would like to continue their studies, what kind of profession they want to choose. In a short time, under serious pressure, we are supposed to make important decisions we are not ready for. We do not know enough about ourselves or our educational options. We are alone in this situation. Luckily, there are mentors! Without them, I would never ever thought to go to a university. There are some universities whose representatives visit the secondary schools and present their institutions’ faculties, indeed, but their number is so low. Beside this, the majority of them hold the presentations in Romanian, which many people barely understand. This is also a difficulty for many young people.
Blanka Barabás: I think it’s hard to be a young person today, yet an invaluable condition. This programme has been the best opportunity for me so far!

–What message do you have for people who are in the situation you were in before the project?
Barna Lukács:
It’s worth joining, because you’ll only learn and have great experiences. The mentors are helpful and you can always count on them. They provide lots of opportunities. It’s good to have them!
Dániel Dobondi: I would say, go for it! Don’t listen to those who are afraid to try new things! Many people are ashamed to ask for help, because they think it will make their worth less. But that’s not true! On the contrary: you will be more and you can only improve! Mentors help a lot. Don’t be afraid, they don’t bite. You won’t regret it if you take the plunge.
Noémi Tófalvi: My message is to develop yourselves, to spend as much meaningful time as possible with yourselves, to take time to get to know and understand each other and the world.
Csilla Virág: I dare you to ask for help! I don’t like it either, but sometimes you have to admit that it’s necessary. And when an opportunity like this comes along, don’t let it pass you by!
Blanka Barabás: If you dare to dream, dare to act! Join in!

Written by: Júlia Orbán
Translated by: Andrea Árkosi

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The Find your way to the world of work project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment.

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