NGOs help children to love books and cultivate a sense of dignity in them

August 30, 2016.

Volunteerism and civil society have been actively developing in Ukraine in recent years. NGOs not only help the army, fight against corruption and change the approach to providing public services, but also make a significant contribution to the young generation education. Children – the future of every nation, so it is extremely important to cultivate a sense of dignity and love of healthy living in them. Mariupol NGOs described their initiatives.

Kyiv, August 30, 2016. With the start of hostilities, Mariupol became the center of cultural life of Donetsk region.

It was planned to close libraries in Mariupol some years ago. Such a decision of the local authorities became the impetus for the development of a new approach to reading. Besides, parents appeared to be unaware of modern Ukrainian writers and of the fact that their books are inexpensive compared with the books of foreign authors. 

Reader’s Club

Local activists started up a new idea – to create a reader’s club “Mariupol reads to children.” Adults decided to read modern Ukrainian literature to children. This was informed by Oleksandra Vaksman, coordinator of “Reader’s Club” initiative during a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center under the “Spokesman of peaceful life” project with the assistance of the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.

New reading traditions

“Reader’s Club” Coordinator Anastasia Ponomaryova, emphasized that because children are interested in modern literature rather than in the books read to them a few decades ago, no one takes modern needs of children into account.

Very often people associate books with coercion. At school children are forced to read books for grades and reading speed, and in libraries they must behave quietly, which discourages them from reading. The Reader’s Club managed to arouse children’s interest in reading books through group readings conducted in various locations in an informal atmosphere as well as through theatrical performances. Organizers believe that children should have pleasant emotions and associations with a book.

The initiative in Mariupol enlisted well-known Ukrainian writers, including Serhiy Zhadan.

One event can involve only 25 children so as to pay attention to each child. There are no age restrictions. To attend these monthly readings, one should join the Initiative group on  facebook. Currently, many requests for such readings are submitted.

Problems with access to contemporary works  

The organizers noted that despite the need for modern Ukrainian books, they are lacking in Mariupol. The Reader’s Club is negotiating with publishers so that they organize book exhibitions and bring their books to the city. 

Scout initiative “Plast”

Gennadiy Ivanchenko, senior Plast member, informed about the activities of the organization. Plast is the National Scout Organization. Plast educates youth as conscious, responsible and full-fledged citizens of local, national and world community, as the leaders of society. The basic principles of the organization are morals, healthy living and respect for the country. In the Plast’s camps, children have the opportunity to gain sports, sea, air, art, downhill skiing, climbing, archeological, equestrian, environmental and many other skills.

Children and adults aged from 6 to 90 years may join Plast. Today there are 140 camps in Ukraine. Participants have the opportunity to camp throughout Ukraine and to study the local culture.

Plast in Mariupol was founded in 1998. According to Gennadiy Ivanchenko, ten years ago the organization was in decline due to lack of counselors, because this activity is voluntary. But now it is enjoying a revival, because new people interested in the development of the organization have joined Plast in Mariupol.

“Currently, Plast development is very topical, because it fosters a feeling of patriotism and national dignity. Revival of Ukraine is impossible without the formation of a conscious citizen,” he noted.

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