Social project “Volunteers School”

Mariia Tyshchenko, NGO 'Poruch"

Mariia Tyshchenko, NGO ‘Poruch”

In 2016 NGO “Poruch” launched a social project “Volunteers School”, which soon proved extremely successful and found an opportune support of German Federal Company Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. With the financial help of GIZ we were able to include 5 more locations in the programme: Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhya, Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk.

The objectives of the project have comprised:

  • raising the awareness of historical background to volunteering, focal areas of current volunteer movements, legislative instruments regulating functioning of volunteer organisations, rights and duties of volunteers;
  • integration of local volunteers and coordination of their activities;
  • encouraging internally displaced persons (IDPs) to active participation in social life of their hosting communities,
  • Maik Matthes, GIZ

    Maik Matthes, GIZ

    fostering cohesion of IDPs and hosting communities and their cooperation in order to achieve mutual aims and solve common problems,
  • helping people from different parts of Ukraine overcome social barriers artificially created by enemy propaganda and promoting positive image of Ukraine.

The final aim of the project was to create a new social network of active citizens capable to develop a constructive dialogue between the community and the authorities in the implementation of social projects.

During 3 month series of 3-day sessions were held in the above-mentioned locations, numbering 200 participants aged between 18 and 60, including 32 IDPs. The School was supported by local non-governmental organisations, higher educational institutions and authorities.

The activities within the project included:

  • mini-lectures on the history of volunteer movement, legal basis of volunteer work, verbal and non-verbal communication techniques, project management;
  • stimulation games such as “Public Hearing” and “Unfair Elections” during which the trainees had to deal with the corruption of authorities and seek for compromise within the “triangle”: business – politics – local community;
  • workshops such as “World Café” where the trainees had to suggest their own solutions to important social issues;
  • CPR drills and learning basic first aid skills;
  • quest “Following Volunteer Routes” during which the trainees were divided into teams to follow certain routes and complete the tasks given to them by instructors; the tasks included, for example, the quiz about the history of volunteer movement, basic first aid skills and training of team spirit.

The trainees also obtained important tools for writing and presenting their own projects of solving crucial social issues of their communities.

Following are only a few of local activities organised by the School alumni in the aftermath of the studies:

  • “ Nicholas’s Workshop” in which seminarians, children of military and police officers of Dnipro together with their parents made St. Nicholas cards for Donbas children;
  • Training “Debate” held by Donetsk Regional Children and Youth Centre together with the Debate Federation of Ukraine at Donbas Engineering and Management Institute;
  • Workshops on handicrafts for children with disabilities and children of IDPs in Kramatorsk;
  • “Wings of Angels”, which was dedicated to commemoration of children who lost their lives during the Famine of 1932-1933;
  • The flash mob at the railway station to welcome ATO fighters and visitors of Dnipro with Christmas;
  • «Donate a Book to the Libraries of Ukrainian Donbas”, joined by the School alumni from Zaporizhya, Dnipro, Kharkiv, in the result of which more than 1,000 books have been sent to Luhansk and Donetsk regions;
  • Christmas Ball “Courage and Grace” to rehabilitate ATO fighters, organised by Dnipro volunteers;
  • Forum “The Energy of Generations” to promote cooperation between young and elderly people.

Also, NGO “Poruch” experts brought out a resource book containing all key issues highlightened within the project.

The project is expected to be carried on and build more and more social bridges between people of different communities and parts of Sovereign Ukraine.


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