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.