What is the problem we are working on?
Imagine being 15 or 16 years old and you are entirely on your own! Your father was an alcoholic and beat you and your mum, often you were hungry. Finally you were taken away, growing up most your life in dismal orphanages where no one cared much about you and even less about your education or teaching you basic life skills. At 15 you have to leave the institution, enter into a vocational college but no one is responsible for you. No one to turn to. You have 25 Euros a month to live off. How would you manage?
This is not just an imaginary scenario, but the harsh reality for many who leave state care in Ukraine. No wonder these teens are some of the most at risk population groups. UNICEF Ukraine: "70% of them will slip into a life of crime, prostitution, commit suicide or become homeless after leaving care and having to fend for themselves." Few are able to lead a somewhat decent stable life.
Our solutions? Our structured interactive life skills programme STEP prepares and equips teenagers in care for the challenges they will face in life. We develop their job and career possibilities, their social and soft skills, educate them about the dangers ahead of them and assist them to integrate into society. The course boosts self esteem, decision making skills and empowers them to face the challenges in life.
Vira is a care leaver L'viv region, who says: “As for me, there is a real need for preparation for independent life. Because in my institution and in school, they did everything and decided everything for us. But now where I have left, I need to decide and deal with all issues and matters all by myself”
Taras Balandjuk, the Director of an orphanage in Myljatyn, said “The STEP programme broadens our teenagers horizons about the job world, makes them aware of the dangers of substance abuse & human trafficking, coaches conflict solving, money management etc. STEP is effective and gives positive results.“