by Alena Vaganova, Mentoring Program Manager | Kidsave Russia
Lyuda – a beautiful girl with gorgeous hair and a warm smile.
Today she’s making a flower arrangement from leaves, daisies, and beautiful purple flowers, the name of which I won’t even try to pronounce.
“I’m not sure what it will look like yet. I have a general idea, but most often the creation comes alive in the process,” explains Lyuda.
Lyuda is 16 years old, comes from a multi-child family. Her mother has lost parental rights of all the children. Lyuda and her older sister work as caretakers at an orphanage in the city of Odintsovo, in the Moscow region.
“She’s very homey, quiet, shy… she’s very kind, and always helps us around the orphanage. She loves to read,” the other caretakers explain.
Lyuda finished the 9th grade, and even though she has little experience with flowers, she plans on going to college to become a florist.
“Flowers are just beautiful, and I love bringing people beauty,” Lyuda explains.
This year, Lyuda took part in a program developed by Kidsave and Childhood’s Keepers, which helps give job placements and career guidance to older orphans and foster kids. During the school year, she participated in the training and master-classes related to choosing a profession, creating resumes, preparing for interviews, and legal issues related to job placement.
When summer came around, Kidsave and Childhood’s Keepers organized an internship for Lyuda at a flower shop called “These are some flowers!” It is an unpaid internship, but gives this young woman the most important things – job experience in her chosen field, and the ability to interact with colleagues, the director and clients.
When asked why he decided to take Lyuda on for an internship, the director, Valentin Serov smiled widely, “Just today my wife and I received our long-awaited documents for the adoption of our daughter! I know the problems that these children have to go through, when left without parents. It’s hard for them to build their life and find a job, and often they don’t have support.”
The workers of the store welcomed Lyuda with open arms, helped her feel comfortable and gave her advice.
“Our trainee is doing really well. Her work fits in well in the display case, you’d never think that an inexperienced florist, who a week ago, knew nothing about flowers, could have composed such pieces. Some of her creations have already been sold,” adds Valentin.
“Lyuda has the most important qualities of a florist: taste and patience. Everything else is just a matter of practice. I am confident, that if she keeps at it, she’ll be successful!” smiles Valentin.
Once Lyuda finishes her internship, she’ll be able to get a job at the store to make some extra money and to continue sharpen her skills in her beloved profession.