It takes a village, and a partnership

"I have potential – potential that was muffled over the years by other people, or by my lack of self-confidence. Now, I am an active participant on the job market and it's all up to me", 21-year-old Anna sums up her impressions from the combined interventions of SOS Children's Villages Poland and AkzoNobel Poland.

Anna was a conflicted twelve-year-old girl when her family became part of the Family Strengthening Program of SOS Children's Villages in Lublin. "I needed help with my studies, in dealing with my daily responsibilities and in communicating with my parents."

Anna credits the program for keeping her away from trouble. "My whole life was a serious challenge. Here, I got support and understanding. The programme was pretty much my home." Despite the turmoil in her life, Anna managed to start believing in herself and dream of a better life. What she further needed was professional stabilization. 

In 2019, Anna began attending a series of training courses organized by AkzoNobel Poland aimed at improving the lives of young people from various programmes of SOS Children's Villages by developing their interpersonal and professional skills through lectures and practice.

The training consisted of several thematic blocks: painting techniques, a workshop on self-presentation and CV writing, sales techniques and a joint activity of painting the premises of the family strengthening programme.

"In my formal education I missed the approach used by the AkzoNobel instructors - the belief that you can learn everything if you want to and that you can dramatically change your life for the better," says Anna adding that she enrolled to all offered courses at once.

Anna singles out the joint painting of the family strengthening program premises as most fun activity, while "the self-presentation and CV writing were the most effective. I created my first CV in the course, and I still use it. I recognized my strengths and weaknesses. I learned to prepare for job interviews. The AkzoNobel employees helped me focus on and emphasize my best features."

Right now, Anna works as an ICT technician, but dreams of becoming an animal behaviourist – a childhood dream revived thanks to the AkzoNobel courses. "I will go back to school," she says confident that one day she'll realize her dream. And she will. After all, it's all up to her.

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