Hi! I am Liliya Hrytsenia, I'm 18 and I live in the Zhyravenska community in the Lvivska region, in Ukraine. I am a member of the Youth Council at the Village Council, an active participant in the youth movement in my hometown, and a university student. My team, called "Those who break dams", was founded as a part of UNICEF’s UPSHIFT programme.
Young people are often told "You don't get to make decisions," or "You're too young to have a voice." These statements prompted us to wonder why and how long this would persist. This is how my friends and I decided to take matters into our own hands and apply for the UPSHIFT programme.
As a team of young and ambitious girls, we want to make a difference. UPSHIFT has breathed fresh air and hope into our intentions thanks to which we have made a great start on the way to our goal. What did we want to do? To activate the young people of our community and raise their self-awareness. We aimed to show that being young is not a reason lack influence, but rather the best period for action. After all, who else will champion our needs and desires if not us?
This is how we created the project Zhuravno-SAMR, our brainchild. "Another camp where your every minute is planned for you?", you may have thought. Not at all!
This 3-day event brought together young people from all corners of our community. Living in tents, cooking over a fire, singing songs with a guitar, engaging in intellectual games, swimming in the river, and playing football and volleyball — all while creating their own micro-projects for the betterment of their village.
Five teams tackled issues close to their hearts, be it a football field, greening a park, developing unpopular sports, or organizing various competitions. "Zhuravno-SAMR" highlighted the abundance of caring young people who lack the space to develop and implement their ideas. Inspired by this, we're establishing a youth center and more than 200 young people have already joined us in this effort. This is an incentive for us to continue creating and helping modern generations to realize their potential.
Our youth center is envisioned as a hub for brainstorming sessions, intellectual board games, lively discussions, book clubs, movie screenings, and various initiatives spearheaded by local youth. And rest assured, this is only the beginning!