First Lady Olena Zelenska and the participants in the UPSHIFT program of the UN Children's Fund took part in the meeting entitled "UNICEF. Youth for Recovery" on March 27.
As the President’s Office informs, the vision of how to restore Ukraine was discussed by youth, officials, representatives of embassies, Ukrainian business, and non-governmental organizations.
The First Lady emphasized that Russian aggression brought Ukrainian teenagers a difficult traumatic experience. At the same time, they find the strength to study and build the future.
"Educated people who know how to think, who know how to acquire and apply knowledge – this is what is needed for victory. Thank you for studying – for yourself and for the country. My special thanks to our friends from UNICEF for holding many activities for teenagers all year long, helping them to develop and study. And this event of ours is just such an example. Support is very important. It helps not to give up," Zelenska said.
The event participants discussed three important areas of recovery: mental health and provision of psychological assistance; education and skills development; youth-friendly infrastructure. UNICEF committed to expanding support in these areas in 2023.
UPSHIFT teams, with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund, created dozens of projects last year to respond to the humanitarian challenges in their communities caused by the war.
The best youth projects received special awards from UNICEF and the All-Ukrainian mental health program "Tell me honestly, how are you?", implemented on the initiative of the First Lady.
"The generation of your great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers was called children of war because they were small during another terrible war, World War II. Well, I'll be honest: I really don't want you to feel like children of war. I don't want you to feel like victims. It shouldn't be like that. You are children of victory. And the winners themselves. Just like that," Olena Zelenska emphasized.
As a reminder, UPSHIFT is an innovative program for teenagers and young people that helps turn ideas into effective projects that benefit communities.
Photo credit: President’s Office