A catering service training and vocation programme
- Floare de Cireş
- Eco-Razeni Association
- Country of Implementation
- CIS and Associated States
- Start Year
- First published
“Eco-Razeni provides support to young women and men, allowing them to redirect their lives.” Ion Cretu, Mayor of Razeni village
In 2012 the Eco-Razeni Association, an NGO based in Razeni, Moldova, founded a catering service called “Floare de Cireş” (“Cherry Blossom”). The aim is to give disadvantaged young people the chance to gain their first professional experience by working in a catering service. In 2015 the project was expanded to include a job training programme, which more than 100 people with disabilities had completed by 2020. Five organizations from other regions of Moldova are expected to adopt the model.
There is a lack of employment opportunities in Moldova for youth at risk of poverty and social exclusion, including young persons with disabilities.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Floare de Cireş is a social enterprise that gives young people with intellectual and physical disabilities, and from a diverse range of backgrounds and situations, the chance to find their first “real job“ in a catering company. The concept was developed together with young people with disabilities, their family members, and representatives of the public administration. The project started in 2012 with seven employees, and in 2020 Floare de Cireş has 25 employees, 16 of whom are young people with disabilities. In 2015, Floare de Cireş extended its support to a four-month work-based training and employment programme. In a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment young men and women with disabilities learn fundamental job skills, while simultaneously building their resumes and work experience. The programme includes a monthly survey of participants. The long-term financial situation improved for 79 per cent of the beneficiaries by finding employment after working at Floare de Cireş.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Total cost for the training programme is €50,000 per year. Floare de Cireş is financed by public funds and national and international fundraising. About 25 per cent of programme costs are covered by income from the catering service. Floare de Cireş is a simple model and the programme is easy to replicate. On the verge of scaling nationwide, the organization has found partner organizations to launch the programme in five regions of the country. In 2017 the programme served as a case study to develop legal rules for state-subsidized job creation and adaptation for persons with disabilities.
THE STORY OF ELENA: A CATERING SERVICE EMPLOYEE
“I got my first pay slip at the age of 31!”
Elena broke down and cried with joy when she received her first pay slip – at the age of 31. She had never been to school and imagined no one would ever give her a job, at least not a real one. Elena was born with an intellectual disability and had always lived with her both disabled parents. Now this young woman is employed, with a regular living wage and a mission within her. As the right-hand of a chef, Elena knows how to chop vegetables, mix ingredients, and even how to prepare basic recipes. Her father, who is a wheelchair user, talks with admiration about the great change in his daughter’s life: “She has opened up to the world, and she has even started to smile and has friends!” Today, Elena is one of eight full-time employees at Cherry Blossom, Ltd – the first catering social enterprise in Moldova. As a result, she is empowered to earn her own livelihood, to improve her parents’ life, and to build her future.