What impact is Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine having on young people in the country and on the way youth work is conducted? This question and the support that the Council of Europe has been providing to youth work in Ukraine, are the subject of a series of short documentaries first presented at the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik on 16 May 2023.
“To me, youth work is about creating opportunities for young people, showing them that the world goes way beyond this city,” says Olena Glazkova, Director of Kremenchuk Informative Elucidative Centre European Club in the Poltava Region of Ukraine, featured in one of the videos (see the short and the long version).
Olena’s role as a youth centre director changed dramatically when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Using the Council of Europe’s methodology and materials, Olena and her colleagues have been working with young people who fled other regions of Ukraine, such as Kharkiv, because of the war. Music and arts classes, crafts lessons, drawing, psychological consultations, interactive games, and an English language club – these are just a few examples of activities conducted by young people from among internally displaced persons. They seek to help others – and themselves – deal with the trauma of the war and look ahead.
“If you can do youth work - do it. Those young people will eventually grow up, with your involvement or without it. So if you can share something of value and importance, such youth work allows you to improve the lives of young people in your community, in your village,” says Olena Glazkova.
The videos focus on the work carried out under the project “Youth for Democracy in Ukraine: Phase II” , and specifically under its component focused on collecting experiences of youth work, based on the approaches and standards of the Council of Europe, in the context of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
The films were produced by the Directorate of Communications of the Council of Europe, with the support of the Youth Department and the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine.