by Olexiy Kuzmenko
Published on: Apr 5, 2005
Type: Interviews

“I could hardly understand people who complain about life and do actually nothing to improve the situation”. these words are from a person that has chosen a youth activist path rather than a successful managerial career.

Youth CAN network in Ukraine.

Katia Ardanian is 22 she volunteered with Youth CAN since 2001 and has chosen to be a youth worker after graduation from University because she was sure that her work would be not only about making money but most of all about making a change.

-What is your involvement with the MDGs in Ukraine?

“My work is to inspire youth, but it goes both ways – they inspire me every day with their enthusiasm and with things that they do. Our organization provides trainings and assistance for motivated young people interested into volunteering and leading the action. I enjoy doing what I do, and I believe that my work results into positive things for youth. I could hardly understand people who complain about life and do actually nothing to improve the situation. And that’s maybe that thing that I want to see changed. Working with youth now my main goal is to show that our possibilities are unlimited and that everything depends on us and our attitude. I feel happy and proud when our program participants realize that they can bring a change and they start working on it. They start from small but realistic project and change their local communities and solve global problems on the local level”.

- In your opinion, what is the biggest problem of youth in your country?

“I think that one of the biggest problems in our society today is youth apathy which roots in diffidence and lack of information. Youth CAN mission is to empower youth through education and encouragement. Youth holds a huge potential and needs only motivation to turn it into reality. Learning more about civil society and democracy, about active citizenship and participation, having examples of youth activism and support from more experienced peers young people are getting interested to test their own strengths, to take responsibilities and to face the challenges. They start their own projects and involve their friends themselves, being encouraged once they start to encourage people around to make a change. We get many positive feedbacks from participants of our program such as: “I’m very grateful to you for all the inspiration and motivation I got. I used to think that I was useless, indifferent and passive. Now I see my way. You lead me to a right path, changed my thoughts and showed how to fight for our rights and start making a difference while building a democratic society. We will definitely implement our regional project.” And words like these convince that we are on the right path.

- Can youth alone assure MDGs achievement?

I guess it depends on how you formulate the problem. The more realistic we are in formulating our goal the more chances for us to achieve it. For example problem of HIV/AIDS – it’s impossible to solve it completely within a few days, but we can raise awareness about the problem and thus help with prevention of disease and minimization of stigma and discrimination, or collect money through local fundraising to help infected people. Everything depends on desire, persistence, self-confidence and skills that we have. There are always obstacles but there is none that we can’t overcome.

What I want to achieve is sustainability for Youth CAN as organization and creating youth network all over the country, members of which could support and encourage each other, share their success stories and help others with advice and assistance. I want to see youth aware about own rights and responsibilities and confident in own abilities.

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