SOS Children’s Villages Greece
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SOS Children's Villages: Young entrepreneur launches new social media website
Introducing a young man who could be the ‘Mark Zuckerberg of Romania’
Lucian Mustafa, a 29-year-old social media and digital entrepreneur who grew up in the SOS Children’s Village in Bucharest, has developed a platform called Noteaboutlife.com. The site allows people around the world to share life stories and words of wisdom.
“There is a major need for people to pass on their life experiences,” says Lucian, who runs Lucian & Partners, a web development and design company based in Bucharest. “At some point people reach a certain time in life where nothing else matters except their experience, and they need to leave their wealth of knowledge to other generations.”
Lucian has a unique life story to share himself. At the age of three, he was one of the first children to be placed at the SOS Children’s Village in Bucharest when it opened in 1993. His biological mother had to give him up at birth, and he was in a state placement centre until he was brought to the SOS village.
“I can say that I was fortunate to be at the SOS Children’s Village, because out of all the private organisations of this kind, this place offered me the closest thing to a true family,” Lucian says.
The person who motivated him the most was his SOS mother. “Many of the wonderful things that I have accomplished in my life, I owe to her,” he says. “She always encouraged me and taught me to trust in myself – to fight for what I wanted and to always be open to learn new things. Education was very important to her.”
An idea comes to life
Lucian excelled in his academic studies, graduating with a degree in cybernetics from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, followed by two master’s degrees in project management and political science.
“I have realised over the years that the only chance for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve something in life is through a proper education,” he says.
While at university, Lucian first got the idea for what would become his ‘Note about life’ social media site. He met a 95-year-old former Dutch military officer who was a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II. Lucian recalls being enthralled by the man’s stories and wishing that he could share them with others.
The commencement speech of Apple founder Steve Jobs to Stanford University students a few years after learning he had cancer also influenced Lucian. He wanted to capture similar insights from people of all walks of life.
A pilot site for ‘Note about life’ that Lucian started five years ago for a Romanian audience attracted around 60,000 users, including some celebrities. Lucian was interviewed by local media and some likened him to Mark Zuckerberg. Forbes Romania magazine selected him in 2014 for its ‘30 under 30’ series on up-and-coming young people to watch.
‘Take advantage of every chance’
What makes Lucian stand out as an entrepreneur is that he is not just developing one idea, but many diverse ones. He does this while at the same time running his own IT business which employs six people. His projects may not be the kind that will make a person a billionaire, but rather will make a difference in society.
Lucian started his own non-governmental organisation in 2017 called The School for Parents, which offers free in-person courses for adults with children of all ages. By educating parents he hopes to reduce the number of children abandoned or neglected in Romania. About 170 parents have enrolled in the school so far.
But Lucian’s ‘Note about life’ site could be his biggest endeavour yet. When it comes to his personal note about life, he wants to tell other young people – especially those growing up in alternative care – to never sell themselves short just because they come from a disadvantaged background.
“My message is that they should be strong, confident and take advantage of every chance that life has to offer,” he says. “Even if life is hard, it is also beautiful.”