Many disadvantaged young people in Moldova are not aware of the opportunities available to them. That’s where the ‘Civic Education and Opportunities for Disadvantaged Youth’ project comes in, an initiative led by Xenia Martinov and Victor Gitlan, both EUYouth Alumni from Moldova.
Their initiative helps to empower 12-16-year-olds from a local gymnasium, “STEAM”, located in Chisinau. Xenia explains that “the project is more than just a training programme. It aims to inspire teenagers to be active and responsible citizens, which is essential for building and maintaining democracy.”
Victor adds that their project is all about giving young people the chance to learn about their rights and obligations in everyday life. Through practical and understandable information, participants gain insights into the various opportunities available to them. The meetings with the children are designed to be engaging and accessible, including motivational videos and examples of the different programmes and experiences they can apply for.
“I was surprised to hear about all the opportunities we have for young people in Moldova. I think I will apply to one of the Erasmus+ programmes in the future,” says Maxim, 15.
Since January 2023, 25 children have attended a total of six trainings. During these trainings, participants discussed general rights and obligations. The project also covered topics such as education in Moldova and abroad, the importance of studying, and the opportunities available to young people after 9th grade. Through these trainings, the children gained valuable insights and were encouraged to consider their options for the future.
“I’m glad I was able to ask all the questions I had about studies and work opportunities after 9th grade, because I have exams soon and I’m not really sure what I want to do after. Now I know that I have many options available, and I feel more confident,” says 15-year-old Jasmina.
Xenia and Victor organised interactive sessions, which encouraged teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. By creating a supportive and collaborative environment, the project fostered personal growth and social interaction among the participants, helping them to develop a sense of belonging and self-confidence.
Notably, the group discussed why it is important to develop the skills they needed for their chosen paths. The students were also provided with resources and guidance on where to find information and other support. By equipping these young individuals with practical knowledge and resources, the project aims to break the cycle of disadvantage.
The long-term impact of the ‘Civic Education and Opportunities for Disadvantaged Youth’ project extends beyond these immediate sessions. By instilling a sense of civic responsibility and active citizenship, Xenia and Victor are hoping to inspire these young individuals to become agents of change within their communities. Through their new-found knowledge and skills, they have the potential to contribute positively to society, thereby strengthening the democratic fabric of their nation – an essential investment to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
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