Published on 19 August 2020

From working in a bakery to becoming an entrepreneur

“I’ve never been to school in my life, but I’ve learned to read on my own. Now, I’m learning how to write and I am decided to go to school. I wish to work with all my heart. My biggest dream is to open my own flower kiosk."

This is what Adriana Linca shared with us two years ago, when she decided to become a student within the first "Digital Center for Women" opened in Bucharest, RomaniaIn only 6 months, Adriana’s life totally changed: she learned how to write correctly, read fluently, use a computer and was promoted at work, MamaPan, a social business where she was a baker.

Adriana, the "Amazing Women" prize winner

But her greatest joy happened this year. Adriana won the "Amazing Women" international competition, organized annually by the Orange Group Foundation. Thus, she will receive a grant of 10,000 euros to open her flower shop and become a financially independent woman. Together with CPE - Partnership Center for Equality, our local NGO partner, we will support her and offer advice in this new adventure.

"This has been my dream since always: to have my own flower shop and to be able to earn my living by doing what I love. Living this miracle is beyond my imagination. I have tears of joy and no words to express the happiness I feel. Thank you so much!" said Adriana.

“The Orange Foundation’s “Amazing Women Award” aims to encourage the economic empowerment of vulnerable women. Since the first edition in 2016, the “Amazing Women Award” has helped 85 dynamic, highly motivated women in 14 countries to realize their dreams after successful completion of the digital skills training in our Women’s Digital Center program. Each of the winners receives a financial grant and coaching to help them create an entrepreneurial activity or microbusiness. We are very proud of their accomplishments. We wish great success for Adriana and her project.” declared Françoise Cosson, Executive Director of the Orange Foundation.

Over 180 women in need and +450 hours of training

The first "Digital Center for Women", digital literacy program dedicated to women in need, was implemented in Romania by CPE - Partnership Center for Equality, with the support of a 50,000 euros grant offered by Orange Group Foundation and Orange Romania Foundation.

Adriana is one of many vulnerable women, facing socio-economic risks, who have chosen to fight: for their dreams, for the future of their children, for a better life. So far, 184 women with low income or level of education or single mothers graduated the free digital literacy courses held in Bucharest by CPE specialists and benefited from:

  • Training on how to use the Microsoft Office suite, printer, internet, mail services and online applications such as Skype or WhatsApp. The courses lasted 2 hours a day, for 15 days, in groups of maximum 10 beneficiaries, who worked on individual equipment
  • Counseling for personal and professional development. In total, there were +350 hours of individual and +100 hours of group counseling, in order to develop specific skills.


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A life changing experience

The proposed activities in the center address specific needs of people in vulnerable groups, such as adapting to labor market requirements, achieving economic independence for a decent living, acquiring digital communication skills in order to stay in touch with family members who have gone to work abroad or being able to access useful information - medical, social, cultural or educational.

“I believe that the women in need that have joined our program earned, in addition to specific information, much more valuable assets: patience, attention and encouragement. Many of them told me that their self confidence level had gone up, that they are more confident regarding what they could do, more confident about the way their life could improve” said Irina Sorescu, Executive President of the Partnership Center for Equality.

“Since many years now, I’ve been working in a supermarket, but now I want to make a change. I recently got my driving license and, if I learn how to use a computer, I think I will have more chances to find a better job.” said Vasilica, 53 years old

"Although I am retired, I still work part-time. I enrolled in the course because I wanted to learn how to use the computer so that I can type materials in Word. Besides that, now I know how to search for useful information on Google. I’m very happy that I had this chance.” said Valeria, 70 years.

In the context of the social distance imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the activity of the center in Bucharest was suspended, but the courses will start again in autumn.