Anneli studies swamp plankton 'I'm not special,' she says modestly. Anneli graduated from university on specialty of applied hydrobiology. 'In the beginning I wanted to become a vet, but I was the first one to miss out on that course,' says the young woman who is the second person from SOS Children's Village Keila to graduate from a university. To become a veterinarian was her childhood dream, but it never came true. 'When I was a little girl I used to bring little birds home for treatment, but as I missed out on this field of study I chose another branch of learning which was closely connected to biology, which I like. I knew very little about hydrobiology but I can say now that maybe I was lucky not to get the place in veterinary.' Lucky or not, she wants to get a master's degree in the same area. She contested successfully to the master's programme and got the place free of charge. 'My narrower specialty, the topic I will be concentrating on will be swamp plankton,' she mentions. Difficulties in the beginning Anneli was eight years old when she came to SOS Children's Village Keila from an orphanage, together with her older brother and a friend. Now she evaluates this experience as a lucky one. 'I have had a very good life at the village; better than anywhere else I would have had. I was a three-year-old when I went to the orphanage, so I can compare.' 'I've never been an excellent student, I have just did what I had to do,' says Anneli (Photo: Marko Mägi) SOS mother Tiina remembers the day little Anneli came to the village. 'It was 1 June in 1995, her brother was serious and quiet; she was cheerful, chatting and looking for contact,' she recalls. The new beginning was difficult; at first, it was difficult at school but as she was industrious and dutiful, she managed to catch up with her classmates. 'Her parents couldn't take care of them because of health problems but grandfather* was a great help for us. In the fourth grade, suddenly an awakening and opening took place and in the new school everything went great,' her SOS mother remembers. More opportunities 'Thanks to the village, I've had many more opportunities than I would have had in an orphanage. I'm sure I would not be at university without the village; and I got the experience of living in a big family - it's essential to learn to respect other people and not think about yourself all the time,' Anneli reckons. SOS mother Tiina thinks that Anneli used the opportunity she was given. 'If she had stayed with the family, she would be where she is today, but if she had stayed in the orphanage, it would have been very difficult.' 'I don't think I'm especially capable - I have never been an excellent student, I just did what I had to do,' says the young woman who describes herself as kind-hearted and responsible, who doesn't quit. Not a planner Mother Tiina describes her as friendly and shining. 'She is a determined person - she may have been in a company making stupid things but when she thought it was a stupid thing to do, she never participated and left the company. I never had problems with her. She is cheery, in-depth, and confident in herself - she listens to advice but weighs up the decision for a long time and decides for herself.' Anneli claims she doesn't like to weigh for a long time, in fact, she likes to enjoy the flow of life. 'Everything has happened in my life just like that, I have never planned anything.' * SOS Children's Villages is convinced that maintaining ties to family members is crucial when it comes to a child's well being and promoting his/her further development if the SOS child still has natural parents and/or close relatives and if there are positive emotional connections between the SOS child and his/her relatives. This is why we support SOS children in keeping in touch with their relatives.