With the festive season just around the corner, we would like to wish all our supporters happy holidays and all the best in 2015. On behalf of all the young people from “Youth 4 Youth” project, we send our warmest thanks (or Diakuiu, as we say in Ukraine) for your generosity and continuous support of this project. Your donations helped us to reach 50% funding threshold and to achieve incredible results which we are proud to report you on.
First of all, at the start of the new school year in September 2014 the project transferred into the second phase: preparation of the young people for a peer-to-peer work in the communities. To facilitate this process, 5-module workbooks and training manuals have been developed both for youth trainers and their peers. The aim was to help and to guide young people in learning and interaction with their peers, nurturing leadership skills and potential. Written in a friendly language with bright illustrations and design, the handouts have been piloted in the regions during peer-to-peer sessions in the summer and received a very positive feedback.
Secondly, to utilise the best European practice of raising youth awareness on social rights that would suit the needs of Ukrainian youth, we have outsourced and will adapt an interactive game on social rights "Enter Dignityland" that was developed and freely distributed by the Council of Europe (CoE). In November 2014, active young people with alternative care experience participated in additional workshop within “Youth 4 Youth” Project conducted by the Youth Department representative, Council of Europe. In that way, project participants who wish to support peers in fulfilling social and human rights received a deeper insight into the subject, existing policies and advocacy fundamentals.
To support training efforts, a Facebook group have been created as a platform for conversation and sharing experience. Based across 13 different regions of Ukraine, youth participants have actively joined the members-only group and initiated multifaceted discussions on the issues that matter. Introducing social media into achieving project results has helped towards constant, accessible and efficient communication and interaction.
Finally, we would like to hear your feedback: what inspires you to support us? Do you, like us, believe that inspired youth aspire changes? If the answer is yes, why not like our cause on Facebook and spread the word why it matters to support young people without parental care in their transition into independent, successful life.
Their future selves will thank you immensely.
With best wishes for 2015,
Vasylyna Dybaylo, Project Leader
The key to success is preparation. This, more than anything else, can relate to the young Ukrainian care leavers who participate in our project “Youth 4 Youth: Building Skills, Transforming Lives”. To ensure a smooth transition into independent living, 149 young people in formal care, orphaned youth and young people from the vulnerable families – with the invaluable help of your generous donations – attended 71 training sessions during this summer season. For many of the 15 to 18-year-olds such meetings have become an eye-opening, transformational experience. “Young people I work with revealed keen interest and desire to change their lives for better, they liked to be in the youth club, and they are looking forward to starting peer-to-peer work in September”, said Olga, youth trainer from Zhytomyr, the North West region of Ukraine.
“I believe the key to success is a happy family. I am grateful for telling us how to achieve balanced and happy relationships. I will apply new knowledge in building a stronger relationship with my partner in the future, because I do not want to have such relations as my parents used to have...”, echoing Olga’s words 18-year-old Sergiy. During the informal trainings, young participants have been discussing their uniqueness and personalities, talking about inner resources needed to achieve a better position in life. Positive self-awareness, new patterns of behaviour, empowerment and motivation – these are the topics youth have been mostly focused on at the youth club meetings. “Training has helped me to realise that if I truly want to achieve a goal, I have to become more focused on my studying”, - says 15-year-old Victoria from Drogobych. Other discussions included time management, finance management, career advice. “It was interesting to see how I use and distribute my own inner resources and time. Experimenting with sand and stones today proved that by wasting my time on small details I cannot see a bigger picture on how to spot and how to overcome a problem lying ahead” (Ivanna, 16, Drogobych). "Even though I was struggling with making my monthly budget [during a training session], I realised that this [activity] will help me in the future when I will be left on my own" (Artur, 15, Smila).
Thanks to your continuous support to this project, we can proudly reflect on the first fruits of labour, a partnership between the GlobalGiving and the grassroots communities. Youth club events have been taken to the streets and communities of their native towns: “Picture me emotion”, “A city through my eyes” and a charitable event for under 5s in Odesa city orphanage have mobilised not only youth project participants but their mentors, friends and peers. As 16-year-old Ania from Odesa said: "It is so important to be useful". Without exaggeration, by preparing disadvantaged youth as the leaders today, we can create a real impact for a better tomorrow.
Despite drastic political climate over the past few months in Ukraine, we continue transformational work with young people leaving care even in the areas of the armed conflict on the border with Russia.
This is a “Youth 4 Youth” map of Ukraine: 26 youth trainers, 13 regions of Ukraine, 440 young people attending 87 training sessions since the start of the project. During the trainings youth in formal care have been learning about their personalities, how to plan and to achieve their goals. Also, they have been exploring their abilities to work in a team, to lead and to cooperate, enhancing socialisation, communication and adaptation skills – everything that is needed for a better position and a smooth transition into independent living. On 16 May 2014 our trainers have been officially certified as youth trainers. In addition, 5 of the regional trainers have applied and successfully received mini-grants to continue peer-to-peer work with the care-leavers in their communities (marked with the green flags on the map).
“The best way to help young people deprived of parental care is to share your time and knowledge with them, offer encouragement and support, listen and make them feel to be heard”, says Alla Kiriiak, a youth trainer from Odesa. “In many instances, youth in care owe their success to a “right person” whom they met on their road to independence. I believe that those unconditional grains planted in their hearts at the start will yield a fruitful harvest of success in the end”, she adds.
“I strive to become a confident person. I hope to meet like-minded friends”, says 15-year-old Danyl from Smila. “Our training is not over yet, but I already keep looking for another meeting. You [trainers working with care leavers] are incredible for being open-minded, listening to us and guiding us towards independence, success and confidence”, adds 16-year-old Alina from Odesa.
Starting from September, a peer-to-peer work using training course handouts which nurture young people’s new-found capacities will begin. In July, the most active of the young leaders will take part in the International Youth Summit to share their experience on the way from care to independence. As for June, the YouthSpark Bonus Day is right around the corner – which means on June 25th any donations to support Ukrainian orphans will be 100% matched.
When telling us her story, 17-year-old Anya from Drogobych said: “I would be wrong if I say I am not afraid of my future, but with “Youth 4 Youth” I learn how to fight and to win”. Isn’t it something we all wish for the young people these days? If so, please continue to support us now and into the future.
We thank you!
Dear Youth 4 Youth Project supporter,
We are pleased to share our first report on the transformational journey of 300 young Ukrainian orphans in becoming active, empowered and contributing citizens of society. So far, we have managed to reach over 10% of the funds needed. During November 2013 - January 2014, there was a first series of 40 training sessions held in 12 regions across Ukraine (all represented equally geographically), covering 243 young people between the ages of 14 to 18.
Training to develop leadership potential and life skills that young care leavers will need for their transition into independence has become the first phase of the three-stream interconnected project stages. The other two will be scheduled for later this year and will include peer-to-peer work using training course handouts, which nurture young people’s new-found capacities and participation of 20 of the most active young leaders in the Youth Summit.
“Informal training of the young 15-16 year olds who spent their entire lives in the repressive system of orphanages is something that happens to many of them possibly for the first time in their lives”, - says Valentyna, one of the youth trainers from Zhytomyr, a city in the north-west of Ukraine. “To imagine, that someone could talk to those children about their personalities, positive self-awareness, leadership, contribution to the community or empowerment is something far beyond their imagination.” – she adds.
“I couldn’t believe that most of the boys and girls in my group could not find any positive characteristics of themselves, resorting to some rather harsh descriptions as “freaks from the orphanages” – admits Olga, another youth facilitator. “This is where along with motivation and coaching, de-stigmatisation of youth in care comes in handy.”
As for the young care-leavers themselves, these are just few of their reflections after the first phase of the training:
As you can see from the recent events on the streets of Kyiv, inspired youth aspire changes, when thousands of young people rise up striving for their democratic rights and liberties, freedom and democracy. Imagine, what would it be if, instead of fighting for their rights, young people get empowered with opportunities for education and employment? This Wednesday, February 12 2014 young Ukrainians can get a chance to become active and contributing citizens by getting equipped with leadership and professional skills through education, training and volunteer activities. Today GlobalGiving will provide a 30% match to donations made on-line beginning at 9:00 AM EST / 1:00 PM GMT until available matching funds are spent. Please help us spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues who would like to make the kind of difference that you have made by supporting Ukrainian unprivileged youth through education, training and volunteer activities. Your generosity will allow 300 Ukrainian orphans become empowered with an opportunity to serve as the agents of social change in their communities. Just go to http://goto.gg/15531.
Together we can create brighter futures!
With many thanks for your support,
Partnership for Every Child Director & Project Leader
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