Dear friends and supporters,
It is always the start that requires the greatest effort. I am deeply moved, as I am writing these words, because thanks to your support we have reached our goal and raised the 8,000 USD needed to help 180 Ukrainian orphans leaving institutional care. We are thankful to each and every one of our 116 supporters!
The money you have been helping us to raise since December 2011 was used towards organising 2 summer camps for 80 young people in May 2012 and May 2013, conducting 152 meetings of the youth clubs for 60 care leavers during January - May 2012 and September 2012 - May 2013 school terms, participating at the International Training of Children and Young People in Alternative Care, as well as renovating accommodation for 2 young people who left care in 2012. Below, you can see the detailed breakdown of how we spent donations recieved from you through GlobalGiving:
Thanks to the money donated, we were able to conduct life-changing work with young people leaving orphanages in 4 areas of Kyiv Region. They received professional encouragement and support, were taught social, vocational and independent living skills – this gave them a better position and ensured a smooth transition into independent life. Here is what care leavers say about the “Sure Start” Program themselves:
“For me, youth club meetings always mean interesting time, much fun and support” - Olia, 15 (second to the left)
"Thanks to the “Sure Start”, I was able to make new friends and meet many interesting people." - Sasha, 17 (second to the right)
"I learnt how to make the first step towards the problems and how not to be afraid of obstacles and failures." - Oleg, 16 (on the right)
"Great time, friendly atmosphere, lots of new and interesting things. I like being able to speak up and to be heard." - Katia, 17 (on the left)
We are also excited to report about fantastic progress with renovation of the care-leaver’s accommodation. Just over a year ago we wrote about Nina, 20 who was supported by “Sure Start” in a battle over a 2-room apartment which belonged to her but was taken away by dishonest relatives. When she finally won it back, the flat needed a complete renovation. GlobalGiving donations have contributed towards reparation of Nina’s accommodation. Please see the amazing results of the hard work on the photos below. Despite the hard times, Nina is looking forward to her future with great optimism and much appreciation: "My social worker is my blessing - together with her I managed to overcome all difficulties. This person made me believe in my better and bright future." We can also add that it would not be possible without your generous support and donations.
In the related news, we have launched a new GlobalGiving project providing emergency fostering for children who are in need of urgent protection www.goto.gg/13047. We hope you continue to support our projects that are close to your hearts.
Meanwhile, you can follow the updates on “Sure Start” in 2013-2014 on our Facebook page – your feedback is very welcome! Once again, we thank each one of you for giving Ukrainian orphans a sure start in life.
/With best regards,
Such words were particularly popular among 40 participants of the forest camp "Sure Start: Together Towards Success”. Being a part of the social integration programme for the young people soon to leave residential care, the camp was held on 25-26 May 2013 on a campsite in a beautiful forest nearby Kyiv Sea. As a supporting team, we involved young volunteers and social workers for the joint activities. The event has become the logical culmination of a series of meetings of the youth clubs "How to Become Successful".
Our aim was to create new opportunities for the participants to develop self-reliance and life skills needed for the independent living.
The agenda was busy and consisted of various tasks and challenges enabling young care leavers to enhance their communication and adaptation skills, abilities to work in a team, to plan and to achieve goals.
For two days, participants have been exploring tourist life, participating in sports challenges and overcoming obstacles in teams. For many of them, it was for the first time that they learnt how to build a “mini-house” in woods, how to go over imaginary rivers and canyons using ropes with full camping equipment or how to cook dinner on fire. Young care leavers learnt how to navigate by compass, provide first aid or go kayaking.
The teams performed their tasks in individual and joint efforts, which made them more united, supporting and stretching out helping hands to one another. During the camp, the participants were doing quizzes, playing games, meditating, dreaming, fantasizing, learning new things and rethinking the familiar ones. For example, is there anything more precious than money in life? The answers were very spontaneous and straightforward. It appeared that the most treasured possession was their families, friend, good health, love, happiness, freedom and even ... sincere smiles of others. Finally, we invited young people to make a team collage depicting personal dreams and plans. Such bridge between present and future has inspired the participants to think about their future, setting themselves up for tomorrow's lives. We thank most warmly all of you who donated to support this fantastic project helping Ukrainian care leavers to begin independent life outside institutions.
I liked that we were overcoming various difficulties, but we stayed as a whole team. (Oleksandr, Ivankiv Region)
The camp was fun: we were having competition in teams, cooking our own food. Especially I liked when we gathered around the campfire in the night and talked about everything that we were looking for and was awaiting us in the future. (Yurii, Bila Tserkva City)
I liked the forest camp because I made many new friends and had a fantastic time. (Sergiy, Ivankiv Region)
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Wednesday 13th March is a bonus day on GlobalGiving. To take advantage of this fantastic offer and to see it help Ukrainian orphans, please donate as soon as you can that day - your donation will go 30% further. For example, if you donate $31, your donation will be increased to just over $40. This is because on Wednesday GlobalGiving pledge to match 30% of each donation up to $1,000 per donor until they have matched $75,000. It also means that 60 orphans leaving care in Ukraine this year will learn more new and vital skills needed for their successful transition to the independent life.
Meanwhile, thanks to your kind donations our life-changing work with orphans continues in 2013. Did you see our progress last year? Just have a look at the Sure Start project in 2012 in pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/everychild_ukraine/collections/72157632173844720/.
Over the past three months, we have achieved even more positive developments and we are delighted to update you on them. First of all, we are more than halfway through the academic year and life skills training programme. Currently, we have 60 youths from 3 orphanages in Vyshgorod, Bila Tserkva and Tarashcha (towns nearby Kyiv city) involved in the work of the weekly clubs “How to Be Successful”. With your caring support, during January-March 2013 young people without parental care have been able to attend 24 sessions preparing them both practically and emotionally for independent living.
The sessions were focused on the following topics:
1. Myself, us and them: including building self-esteem, improving communication and conflict resolution skills. Our participants have had some very lively discussions drawing from personal experiences. Young people have acquired specific skills on how to understand, cope and overcome fears, how to deal with negative emotions and how to channel them into positive ones as many of them were deeply rooted to the lack of family ties.
Of particular interest was “The Art of Persuasion” game, helping the youth to better observe verbal and non-verbal gestures and behaviour of others, to self-reflect and to hold the ground in advocating their own views. The game was such a success and a real inspiration that the participants have even asked for the hand-outs to keep practicing it in spare time.
2. I am the Master of my Fate: learning practical skills of how to set life goals and how to achieve them, what it means to be responsible and how to make responsible decisions. The discussions showed that for many care-leavers the biggest fear ahead was leaving the orphanage. The majority of the young people were also struggling to differentiate life goals and personal dreams. Fortunately, regular meetings allowed the young people to become more determined in seeking solutions how to grow into productive adults, energized, assertive and ready to take initiative for themselves, their families and their community.
One of the modules has also covered the universal human rights, why it is important to know them and to recognise gender difference while raising awareness on gender equality.
3. Financial Management. This module is usually the most interesting for all the participants to talk about and is always on top of the list in terms of the turnout. Such vital skills as money management, budget planning or making shopping list are never taught for the residential care-leavers. Sessions have enabled participants to learn the basics of the financial management, as well as to share their own experience of raising and managing money (i.e. fishing and selling caught fish, selling garden flowers or doing simple garden works, etc).
Also, we are preparing the regular End of Year event which will take place in May 2013, symbolizing the end of the school year and completion of the Sure Start programme. While challenging themselves and participating in various outdoor activities, the goal of the event is for the participants to develop leadership skill and to work in a team. We will keep you updated with photos and materials on our progress and exciting new developments.
In the meantime, we thank you all for your continuous support.
With warm regards and best wishes,
We are Anya and Natalia, “Sure Start” participants and Partnership for Every Child volunteers. On the 18-24 October 2012 we visited Sofia, Bulgaria where we represented Ukrainian care-leavers at the International Training of Children and Young People in Alternative Care.
Along with our peers from the UK, Netherlands, Finland, Bulgaria, Russia, Moldova and Malta (more than 50 of them!) we received an exciting opportunity to interact with the policy makers and leading experts in the field of social care and protection at the EU level during the International Foster Care Organisation annual conference. It was such an important task to be empowered with - we hope we did well.
At the training, we were trained in presentation and facilitation skills, group dynamics and group activities through the theme of Children in Alternative Care. The trainers encouraged all of us to hold a peer event when we returned back to our countries. So straight upon our return to Ukraine we were told that Partnership for Every Child organised a two-day meeting for the young people from our and other residential care institutions in Kyiv Region. It is hard to explain how important we felt our mission was: for the first time to facilitate and interact with a group of 26 peers most of whom we have not met before. This was when the knowledge and competence that we have gained from the Bulgarian training came in handy.
During our week’s stay in Bulgaria we met so many new people from different countries with similar to our experiences of living in care. Talking to them in an informal way has made us realise that challenges care-leavers are faced with when they start independent lives are the same around the world. Discussing other people’s care experience has reinforced one clear message to us: all the care-leavers can be the change they want to see in the world towards themselves. Together we can achieve so many things!
Read more about our impressions from the trip to Bulgaria and participation in training in the files attached below.
Dear Friends and Supporters!
Summer is a nice time of rest and vacations for most of us. We enjoy our summer days visiting our parents, grand parents, friends, relatives or take an interesting tour to other countries.
This summer was quite different for 2 young girls from Sure Start project we are implementing with your support. They had to deal with rennovation of their future accommodation. Partnership for Every Child has supported Alina* and Nina* in this difficult task.
Nina is 19 years old and lives in the city of Bila Tserkva (Kyiv oblast, Ukraine). She was born a happy child and lived with her family until she was 14 and was placed in child care institution. Her father died before and her mother could not cope and started to live antisocial life. Soon after being placed in institution her older brother and mother also died. When Nina was 16 she was taken under care by her aunt. This was very good news for her, but life made its joke - her aunt just used her and took over part of her property - a flat which belonged to Nina. Her aunt has also rented out the flat and it was almost destroyed when Nina came back from institution.
Nina has applied to centre of social services for support when she was just over 18. And then she was included in the project. Social worker with involvement of the young girl conducted needs assessment and developed after care plan. One of the issue was of course accommodation which needed total renovation.
In May 2012 Nina has started to implement her plan for renovation of the flat. With the assistance of social workers and other volunteers she has developed a plan and budget for renovation. During summer 2-room apartment was cleaned, contribution was made to re-establish electricity system, water supply system, installing new windows and doors. The next steps would be to make all the walls, ceiling, flooring and to renovate bathroom.
Despite of difficulties in getting necessary funds and a huge amount of work the girl is doing herself Nina is very optimistic in talking about her experience:
"My social worker is my blessing - together with her I managed to overcome all difficulties. This person made me believe in my better and bright future" :)
Alina is 20 years old and she left child care institution in Vyshgorodkyy rayon (Kyiv oblast, Ukraine). She gave a birth to her lovely son soon after leaving care. She lived in the house which belonged to her grandfather together with her husband and uncle. A fire accident has totally destroyed a house in March this year when Alina was pregnant with the second baby.
Social worker of Sure Start project has supported Alina and her family after this event. They were provided with all necessary humanitarian assistance immediately as well as temporary housing. Social worker has also provided assistance in all legal issues in order to legalise the property rights for the land for Alina.
Family has decided to build a new house to replace the burned ones. Local government has supported Alina's family and partly funded the building works. Alina has also applied to Sure Start project and we have supported her with some funds for roofing. Members of village community are also actively helping this young family as the most important is to keep family together and to eliminate any possible risk for children to be separated from their family.
All the renovation works are underway and we would be very thankful for your support for the project to continue our valuable support to young people in care and those leaving care.
Very soon - at the end of September - we will welcome new group of children in our Sure Start project who will be supported throughout a year to be ready for independent life.
Thank You for Support!
* due to ethical reasons and policy names of beneficiaries are changed in this story.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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