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Elena Calarașan, student at the Center of Excellence in ICT: We will achieve greater success in life and career path when we will know better how to express our needs and emotions

Elena Calarașan is 17 years old and studies at the Center of Excellence in Informatics and Information Technologies in Chisinau, dreaming of building a successful career in accounting. Recently, she became a member of the first Network of Peer Educators created in the Professional Technical Institutions (TVET) in the country. The network was created at the initiative of UNFPA Moldova with the financial support of the Austrian Development Agency, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research. It aims to promote messages related to health, emotional intelligence and relationships among young people, helping them to integrate more easily in the labour market. Elena is convinced that only by combining life skills with technical and professional ones, both she and her colleagues will succeed greater in their careers.


“I know that participating in this network will have a positive impact on my development, as well as on the other students. I say this because, from the first meeting I had with the peer educators, I experienced only positive emotions. I was even more motivated to be active and make a positive change, due to the friendly atmosphere and the common goals and aspirations we all have. I am very happy that I will interact with people who will motivate me even more in achieving great things”.


Elena participates in the online meetings of the Peer Educators Network.

Girls and boys need to be educated about gender equality


Being a positive and empathetic person, Elena found already in gymnasium what discrimination means, gender stereotypes, and other challenges that other girls had to face. That's why her motivation to change things is so strong.


“While in the gymnasium, I participated in a contest with general culture questions, where we had to form teams and choose the team leader, respectively. I thought I had the necessary qualities for this responsibility, so I proposed my candidacy without much fear. Initially, all members agreed, but a colleague intervened and said that it would be much better if our team would have been led by a boy. I also remember the arguments that were given to me: boys are stronger, a boy would do better to lead a team than a girl, and other such insinuations, with which, to my great disappointment, agreed with the rest of the members. I remember very well that I did not try to insist and I gave this role to a colleague of mine. I know that since then I was not any more so confident so when similar opportunities were arising and leadership roles that I would have liked, I wasn’t publicly aspiring for them if not being proposed by someone else” says Elena.


Elena is a student in the specialty of "Accounting", at the Center of Excellence in Informatics and Information Technologies in Chisinau.

Reproductive health lessons are essential for the future of young people


Also while in the gymnasium, Elena had to say goodbye to two colleagues who dropped out of school for a common reason in rural areas: they had become pregnant.


“Adolescents in the Republic of Moldova are told to protect themselves, but very often, no one explains to you how to do it, due to the fact that this subject is still considered taboo by a large part of the population. I know real cases, when biology teachers refused to discuss with students the topics related to sexual life and the reproductive system, urging them to study alone at home. And parents often avoid informing their young children about the consequences they could suffer as a result of not using protection that could lead to an unplanned pregnancy.”


Elena was lucky in this regard because her biology teacher realized the importance of addressing topics related to body changes, reproductive health, sexual life and together with other teachers in the school, but also parents, gave the girls the opportunity to participate in several information sessions organized by the Network of Peer Educators, Y-PEER Moldova, in which she participated.


“Apart from the fact that these meetings were organized in a very pleasant way for us, with interactive materials, games and other interesting activities to capture our attention, we managed to understand in-depth information on these topics and become aware of the seriousness of such events.”


Elena participates with other colleagues, parents, and teachers in an informal discussion about risky behaviors in adolescence and possible solutions.

Free expression of needs and emotions are important skills for any girl


Now, Elena is studying hard for a future career in accounting and she is happy that a Peer to Peer Network has been created in 12 technical vocational education institutions, including the one where she studies. Elena is actively involved in volunteer activities, willing to change the attitude of her peers in positive ways and to help those in difficulty.


"Many times I thought about the fact that I have the power to change things for the better, but I immediately thought that I also needed the support of more people. I strive to stay balanced, not to fall prey to vices like many teenagers do, but to help those who have such problems, including through this network."


Regarding her career in accounting, Elena knows it won't be easy for her, but she thinks she has already discovered some "secrets" that will help her.


"A positive attitude towards oneself, as well as the free expression of needs and emotions are among the main skills that any girl should have. With their help, they will no longer feel pressured by society or forced to make some choices they do not want. Likewise, the social involvement, the application of the knowledge acquired at school, and the civic responsibility would demonstrate the abilities of the girls and would highlight even more the great things that are in their power”, she says with confidence.


Elena's message for young people, and especially for girls in the Republic of Moldova, is sincere and firm, just as she is.


“Don't underestimate yourself, invest in your education and personal development, and always strive for continuous growth! It is important for us not to pay attention to criticism or prejudice from society, but to follow our dreams with confidence.