Jelka is just one of us – an ordinary single mom trying to make the best of life in her home country of Serbia, land of struggles, transitions, and extraordinary people. After raising her daughter on her own she ended up as a manager in the cosmetics industry – but, after many years of doing the same thing, she lost interest and passion in her job, and did not know where to go next. Until she heard about the Grooming Academy of Sasa Riess. As a huge animal lover, she was thrilled with the idea of learning how to groom dogs and spend time with them, while at the same time earning money. But there was a further dimension – the academy had a special program for people from the margins of society, even ex-convicts, teaching them how to groom and giving them a chance to create a better future with decent work. Jelka’s life changed completely when she started to work alongside these people – the fact that her time and knowledge could change the trajectory of someone’s life for the better made her find a renewed purpose. She says she and her co-workers all learn together every single day and points out the most valuable lesson she has gained from this experience: when someone believes in you, you start believing in yourself.
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