Through several government grants and other financial gifts from our partners, ServeNow is conducting two types of “awareness” programs in Ukraine to combat social problems, with the goal to instill a sense of worth and value, encourage positive choices, and offer future career options/plans. The first program is called “Step by Step.” The second program is called “I Can.”
Step by Step
The Step by Step program helps us talk to teenagers about important things in life, such as health, human rights, that we are important, the type of dangers (abuse, alcohol, drugs, traffickers etc) that are out there and how to protect oneself against those. Olga, a “Step by Step” staff member, spends much of her time in classrooms of rural schools, because there are not many organizations or volunteers that want or are able to go to rural places. The four schools participating in the project, are at a great distance from the regional center and therefore are not easy to reach. These schools rarely have strangers who carry out any activities with the children. Teens are always eagerly waiting for our meetings. They ask important questions and are serious about what is being communicated and taught to them. Some of them share their problems and seek for advice. This shows responsibility on their side, and it shows that they realize the importance of what is being conveyed to them. The main problem of orphanages in Ukraine is that they usually see very few outsiders. Therefore, any time a guest comes to visit them, the children are very excited. Consequently, we are always received with open arms. This program helps create awareness of common problems and thus change the situation of children in a particular orphanage.
Today, in Ukraine, there are in particular many young women and girls whose future and rights are affected. One of the main reasons is the more than one million refugees from Crimea and the eastern part of Ukraine. Young women are unable to continue their education in new areas and are forced to work long hours daily at low-paying jobs. Also, there are many young women without work and without education. Some of them were forced to be refugees, and their husbands are fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine. Some of them are divorced, dependent on others and lack confidence in their future. The situation is complicated by the fact that Ukraine ranks number one in Europe on the issue of human trafficking. The goal of the I Can project is to increase young women’s awareness, skills and to empower their confidence in the future. This is done through conferences, lectures, seminars (on issues like health, human rights, parenting, self-development, preventing trafficking, drug and alcohol abuse, interpersonal relationships etc) and skill training (computer skills, baking). The result is that these women become better informed, confident, successful, employed and productive in Ukrainian society!