"I will learn, and I will return to show that life can continue even after the bombings"
Sofia, a 17-year-old girl from the city of Kharkiv Ukraine, a region where military attacks are the order of the day, dreams of returning home and becoming a doctor, being convinced that "everything can be rebuilt, even if some say it's the end of the world. "Until then, the teenager is in the Republic of Moldova with her family and is one of the participants of UPSHIFT, a project dedicated to young people, implemented by UNICEF Moldova, TEKEDU, and the Ministry of Education.
Within the project, which takes place in Chisinau, Balti, and Cahul until May 29, Sofia and about 100 other young people learn to write, present, and implement social startups based on the community's needs. This year, participants are encouraged to address humanitarian crisis management and refugee integration issues. Subsequently, will be selected ten innovative initiatives for funding.
"I learned about this project from volunteers. I know we must do a project, present it and get financial support to implement it. However, for me, the development within this activity matters. I am sure that I will acquire new knowledge, which will be useful in the future. I want to study at the University of Medicine and become a dentist", says Sofia.
Moreover, she urges all teenagers in Ukraine who are now in Moldova or other countries to learn continuously because their home country will need good specialists.
"This project is a starting point for young people to get involved or arouse their interest in a social activity. There will undoubtedly be a lot to do in Ukraine, such as rebuilding cities. That is why the young people, those who will remain, will return to the country, and they must develop so that we can do all this together. I have hope anyway, even if some people look at me very strangely and say that this is the world's end. However, I believe we can turn everything around.Thus, it is vital for young people who have left the country to study, as they know that it is impossible to continue their studies at home. Therefore, I urge everyone not to be sad, but to be informed about their possibilities in other countries, significantly to divert their attention from everything happening. I do not want to leave, I will learn, and I will return to show that life can continue even after so many bombings", says the young woman from Kharkiv.
"I want to say that this project is exciting. In this way, I help myself, and I can help others. In Ukraine, such projects could only be found in large cities. For example, I have not encountered such activities in my locality" Kira, 14 years old
Arina and Kira, originally from Odesa and Nikolaev, are two other participants in the UPSHIFT project. They also learned about this opportunity from the mobile team volunteers, another initiative of UNICEF Moldova, and the Municipal Youth Center that aims to inform young refugees about development opportunities in the Republic of Moldova.
"Volunteers came and told me about UPSHIFT, an activity that excited me. So, I filled out a form, and here I am," says Kira, who wants to help build a shelter for abandoned animals.
"I have a dog that stayed at home with my father. However, many animals have been left alone, which is a real problem. I notice that even here, in Chisinau, there are many animals on the streets. So, I'm going to write about is how we can help stray dogs and cats. Now I'm learning to make the plan. I mean, this project is interesting. In this way, I allow myself and can help others. In Ukraine, such projects could only be found in large cities. For example, I have not encountered such activities in my locality", Kira also says.
"I came to this project because I want to communicate with other young people and to take every opportunity to develop myself. I am passionate about art, but I would also like to learn a lot about marketing, so I am sure that this project will be useful” Arina, a young woman from Odesa, Ukraine
Arina is passionate about design, painting, and everything related to art. Besides all this, she is a young woman thirsty for new acquaintances and tries to enjoy all the opportunities that come her way.
”Respectively, we will find a common idea within the team and develop it together. Such activities are essential for young people in Ukraine, especially those who still do not know which field to choose. It is so important to invest in our knowledge", says Arina, who can't wait to return home and offer a helping hand to her country. She calls on all young people in Ukraine to develop regardless of the country in which they have chosen to take refuge.
"Don't let your hands down. It is not the time for depression. If you are in Moldova, look for information because many opportunities exist. For example, I think it's a perfect project for getting here. We need to raise our heads, not stand still", says the young woman.
The UPSHIFT project is in its fourth edition and will run for four weekends until May 29. All activities are organized in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Research within the Resource Center for Youth and Adolescents in Balti, Chisinau Municipal Youth Center, and Cahul City Hall. During the first session, the young people participated in activities of knowledge and analysis of the community to initiate the writing of social projects. The project has about 400 beneficiaries and 23 funded social businesses.