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Despite war, Ukrainian youth stay involved

Performers at the Student Spring charity concert. (Vladlen Zaitsev/YJI)

Kryvyi Rih, UKRAINE – Despite the hardships in their homeland, Ukrainian youth involvement in various programs is growing.

The School of Resilience KR, by the Klitschko Foundation is a local project organized by active youth to boost their skills and share experiences.

After some attended the main course in Germany, they had a goal: to motivate young people in their hometown to participate in leadership initiatives and other training skills for study and for life.

In Kryvyi Rih, the atmosphere filled with motivated kids, great music, jokes and new information.

The first lecture was about school self-government and how leadership activities can be applied in everyday life.

Ukrainian students at the leadership training. (Vladlen Zaitsev/YJI)

During the session, participants unpacked their personalities and heard some insights from the invited guest. For the audience, the most gripping part might have been making a paper man without any scissors.

Everyone loved the coffee breaks. Who doesn’t want to eat sweets or drink coffee or tea?

Dances and new friendship bonds were included, too. 

The main course at the School of Resilience was called “The Challenge” and consisted of four main blocks. Throughout the training, everyone communicated and gave some thoughts about themselves and supported each other.

They determined their problems, their goals, and the people who motivate them not to give up.  

On the second day of the training, the organizers adapted their lessons to something the youth said they needed help with: procrastination.

Participants heard an exclusive course about project management, which covered procrastination and how we can cope with it.

“During the first session, we heard about the main hardships of the audience, and laziness was the biggest problem,” said Oleksandra Tsopa, an organizer.

Tsopa said they addressed the issue of idleness because so many of the youth wanted strategies to combat it.

“Overall, the project was a success,” Tsopa said. “We received an average mark of 9.4/10 from the listeners, as well as their positive vibes and bright eyes.”

Participants left with new knowledge, friends and small gifts.

“Dreaming is important” was the slogan of the Student Spring concert at Kryvyi Rih National Pedagogical University.

Ukrainians have only one ambition and goal: peace, that’s why volunteerism is such a priority. The charity concert wasn’t an exception – all money raised went to help the national military.

For the first time in three years, a youth favorite – the concert – brought everyone together in person.

Because of quarantine restrictions and Russia’s full-scale invasion, this tradition, though not interrupted, had to move online for three years.

Before the concert, alumnus and university workers organized a preparation course for the students. They aimed to create more excitement about the Student Spring, explain how it works and tell some fun stories from the past. 

The performers kept the attention of numerous spectators throughout the show.

With incendiary and lyrical vocals and choreography, spectacular chemistry and incredible acrobatics, fashion shows, emotional performances by reciters, and breath-taking sports performances,  it was a celebration of the explosive creativity, energy, and piercing sincerity of talented young people.

More than 11,000 hryvnias (about $300 USD) were raised – a result, student said, that exceeded their expectations.

Discarded artillery shells painted with images of Ukrainian heroes and national symbols. (Vladlen Zaitsev/YJI)

At the same time as the concert, the university’s Faculty of the Arts created an exhibition on the main campus.

Since the latest Russian invasion, citizens have painted portraits of famous Ukrainians, symbols from 2022 and cultural masterpieces onto used artillery shells. These were on display at the university and will be auctioned off with money raised going to the national military.

Vladlen Zaitsev is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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