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How to help deprived of parental care youth to enter adult life

On April 5, 2012, Iryna Vakaliuk, Yevhen Lysniak, and Andriy Nazarenko - "Orphans' Future" volonteers took part in the conference "How to help youth deprived of parental care to get a headstart in their adult life," organized by EveryChild partenrship and Swiss bureau of International Social Services, which was held in Kyiv youth's and children's center.

The aim of the conference was to anlayze the accomplishments of the social project "Confident start", implemented in Kyiv and its oblast between 2010 and 2013. The prroject aims to develop a a social services framework geared towards socializing the orphanage youth, providing services to address orphans' needs as they reenter adult life, and enhancing professional competencies of social workers.

The participants shared their experiences and skills and developed strategies geared towards improving social services for the orpahange alumni. Among the participants were orphanage youth studying in senior grades as well as former orphanage alumni from Kyiv oblast and Ternopil, who shared their own challenges and socilaization experiences. There were over 100 participants from state and non-governmental organizations as well as Ministries of Labor, Social Policy, and Education.

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The most salient suggestions designed in collaborative workshops were published in notebooks available to each participant for further reflection, analysis, and tasks application. The most relevant topics discussed were how to motivate youth to be independent, social accommodation, employment, mentorship (who is a mentor and how to find one?), skills necessary for the orphanage alum to become self-sufficient, how to teach the youth to establish rapport, what's at stake entering adult life, and the most daunting challenges ahead after exiting from orphanages.

Some participants have outlined the following steps in order to address the above-mentioned issues:

1) To develop a workshop for youth and professionals working with orphans

2) To develop a mechanism for providing orphans with housing via "Affordable Housing for Orphans" state program.

3) To establish a youth club enouraging youth to become proactive in their life

4) To ensure accountability of state agencies under the banner of "There is no such thing as someone else's problems"

5) To launch a project "My Lifestory" designed to collect orphanage alumni's life narratives

At the end of the conference the participants exhanged their wishes for productive work ahead aimed at improving orphans and orphanage youth's lives.

During the conference breaks, orphanage alumni from Ternopil and "Orphans' Future" volunteers shared their insights about their life in orphanages and invited orphanage youth from Kyiv oblast to visit their schools in order to learn about their independent life in orphanages, whereby fostering collaboration and learning from each other.


: 05 April 2012

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