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women sewing

Lives Changed this Summer During “Project Ruth”

The sewing club at the Naomi Center began its fourth year in June. Some of the women have now participated in the program for one, two, and several for all three years and have thus refined their skills such that they are producing their items with increased precision and in record time. Still others are joining the program as new participants. 

Mirela, the sewing instructor,works alongside Lila, who iseager to learn and displayspromising natural talent.

Lila, a recent addition to the program, found the time to come to sewing club with a friend in October despite having three young children at home. Having a strong sense of style and the desire to design and create, she fell in love with the program after her first visit. During the Christmas rush, Lila eagerly helped the more experience ladies cut the fabrics for their projects since she was still only a beginner and wasn’t yet proficient enough to produce high-quality products for the holiday season. Even so, she clung to and absorbed every moment of instruction she received and practiced for hours to improve her skills. In February, she began a seamstress certification course in Bucharest. Her skills progressed so quickly and her level of commitment proved so high that the sewing instructor, along with the Naomi Center counselor who oversees the career counseling program, recommended her for the course. Lila has such great  potential in becoming a professional that they even allowed her to take a sewing machine home to complete her assignments for certification.  Another beneficiary of the counseling program, Denisa, realized her childhood dream through the coaching of Dana Serban, the counselor for the Naomi Center. Many little girls dream when they are young of becoming beauticians, giving their dolls crazy hairstyles and spend countless hours braiding their best friend’s hair. Yet for many of these girls, this dream never comes to pass; either because their dreams change or sometimes because life gets in the way. Denisa had this dream as a child, and life certainly did seem to get in her way. When she was very young, Denisa found herself in an orphanage and there found no one to dream along with her. Years passed, and as a young adult, Denisa began attending counseling at the Naomi Center. It was here that she learned to dream again. With assistance from the career counseling program, Denisa enrolled and successfully completed a vocational training course for hairdressing and achieved her dream of becoming a fully certified beautician.  The programs serving economically disadvantaged women and youth in Bucharest have proven to have life-changing impacts on participants. Andrei, a promising student in the tutoring and Steps for Independent Life programs, gave his teachers and the project staff ample reasons to have high hopes for his future. He was highly-motivated, attending courses and tutoring sessions faithfully and with purpose. His life had a distinct and profound impact on his peers this summer, but not in a way that was expected…  In a water accident earlier this month, Andrei courageously attempted to save a young friend in distress, and both boys tragically drowned. His life is a shining tribute to the spirit of young boys presently active in the program and an inspiration to the students that he left behind. CERI is working with the Project Ruth team to establish a memorial fund in his honor. 

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