In December, we held the first training as a part of our new Youth Power course. The most motivated participants had been selected to join the training. We interviewed five of them to find out about their lives and their views of the future. Their answers surprised us, because all the participants know what they want from life and are ready to pass on their experience to the new generation.
Eugenia, 25 years old
Volunteer of the Mothers Against Drugs, NGO. They support people addicted to drugs and their families through arranging trainings and master classes.
The City of Babrujsk
«I see my purpose in helping girls. Why? I often see them idling on the streets. I am speaking about girls aged between 14 and 20, who often need support, because this age is a make-or-break time».
Earlier, Eugenia was a member of a cinema lovers’ club, and she decided to become its facilitator in October. She wanted to make this popular club a place for discussion and interaction.
«I have an idea to offer a master class for girls and to help them develop their skills through drama: to teach them how to cope with their awkwardness and shyness. I want them to be able to establish themselves in life, not to be afraid to speak up and talk».
The Youth Power course is interesting for me in terms of getting new experience and knowledge. I am eager to learn about new approaches in working with young people.
Dmitry, 18 years old
Volunteer of the Meeting, NGO, which promotes the prevention of HIV among men who have sex with men.
The City of Hrodna
«My volunteering is primarily connected with young people. It is important to find a common language and common ground. We conduct trainings in self-acceptance, dealing with depression and other complex issues that our participants face in the difficult periods of their lives.
Unfortunately, we lack experienced trainers while there are a lot of issues on the list. Therefore, I decided to enrol for the Youth Power course, so that later I could work in nonformal education and apply the knowledge in my volunteer life».
Sonya, 23 years old
Chairwoman of the POST, NGO, which has been engaged in the development of nonformal education in Belarus for more than 20 years, supporting and shaping the civil society.
The City of Minsk
«Now our organization is mainly engaged in the promotion of LARPs. This abbreviation stands for a «live action role-playing». It is a kind of a flexible tool that helps develop nonformal education.
LARPs are written on socially important topics that touch upon various sensitive situations, such as homophobia, sexism, racism, ageism, etc. They help change the perspective – enable people to see the situation sometimes from the inside, sometimes from the outside.
My expectations from the course are: networking and getting to know other participants. We might have common goals and views, so I want to share my knowledge and experience in LARPs. And also I would like to learn how to work with youth. Although I myself belong to this age group, it seems to me that I do not really know which is the right way to work with this target group».
Ksyusha, 22 years old
Member of the Closet Free, youth project. This initiative holds queer-related events: lectures, trainings, film screenings and meetings.
The City of Viciebsk
The initiative has been on since April, and it has already gained popularity in Viciebsk.
«It is important for me to create a community, because our main task is to increase the visibility of LGBTQ people in our city. It is important for us to establish relations and build supportive relationships.
Different people come to us: from the LGBTQ community, LGBTQ-friendly people and even parents. But as soon as we began to conduct trainings, we realized that we lacked knowledge and experience. So I applied for the Youth Power course.
It is also a great opportunity to partner with the others, come up with something of common interest that would unite us».
Martha, 24 years old
Coordinator of the volunteer service of the Viesna, human rights organization. The volunteer service works in many areas, one of them being monitoring the way public events are held and the courts function.
The City of Minsk
The day of the first Youth Power training coincided with the protests against the integration <with Russia>, so the participant had to be in touch with the volunteers any time they needed her.
«Yes, today my heart is with the volunteers. Indeed, on the one hand, they are officially registered to be present at the action and they carry a Belarusian Helsinki Committee certificate. But on the other hand, we still lack national legal regulation that would provide protection for them.
The most important thing in my work is coordination. I have to find people, train them and be always there for them. And the global mission is to spread knowledge about human rights.
I joined the course to learn how to work with youth. For me, it is still an unknown audience, difficult to approach. After all, I have worked as a coordinator not for long».
The Youth Power course will be completed in June 2020, and the work of the participants will go on until August. We are sure that our heroines and heroes will be successful.
The program is implemented by the Office of European Expertise and Communications in partnership with the Pact, Nonprofit International Development Organization, which is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).