Valentina Saraqini (52) went through many crises in her life. A war, the loss of the family home and business and several jobs. Despite all difficulties, she never gave up and managed to provide a good education for her children. But there was always the desire to be an entrepreneur. Finally, it became reality.
Valentina lives with her family of five in Gjakova, Kosovo. Both her daughters are currently unemployed, which puts more pressure on the family income and wellbeing.
But this is not the first big test for her family. Their house and business were burned down during the war in Kosovo. They lost everything. But Valentina and her husband fought their way through - he was working as a driving instructor, she as a saleswomen. As the family grew, so did the expenses and Valentina took on another job as a cleaner at a local bank. One day, the bank branch was closed, and the family had to start from scratch again.
Valentina always wanted to be an entrepreneur. She studied economics, two years before the war started. With the birth of her children, she couldn’t complete her studies. Yet the desire to have her own business always remained. But she didn’t have the financial or professional support to do so.
One day, during an internet research, she came across Volkshilfe's SEED project, which supports vocational education and self-employment of women and girls in Kosovo. The confectionery training she started there lasted three months and included both theory and practice.
Immediately afterwards, she started her cake business from her own home. She soon posted her pastries on social networks and quickly won customers. Gradually, she was able to equip her cake workshop professionally and offer a greater variety of sweets. Today, she is marketing herself successfully on Facebook and has a contract with a restaurant that purchases her pastries exclusively.
Asked about advice for other women, who want to start their own business, she says: “Many women in this country don’t trust their own abilities. I would like to tell them, that with hard work and dedication, anything can be achieved. Live your dreams!"
Today, Valentina has registered her business as “Tina’s Desserts” from which she secures an income above the average salary in Kosovo. Valentina also plans to expand the business. She wants to open a larger workshop and hire other women, as well as have a cafe where customers can place orders and enjoy her products.
The SEED project – Support of Educational and Employment Development – is realized with funding from the Austrian Development Cooperation and Volkshilfe.
Copyright photos: Dini Begolli