Project LifeStart is a project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). CIDA is a branch of the Canadian government that distributes money designated for international development projects to Canadian organisations.
Project LifeStart Odessa is a three year project, which started in spring 2010. It is jointly operated and implemented by World Hope Canada and World Hope Ukraine. The primary goal of Project LifeStart is to influence the Government of Ukraine to implement an improved model of care for at-risk young people in the Odessa region. The project has two main components: a life skills curriculum to be implemented in local orphanages and a foster care pilot for six at-risk young women.
Throughout 2010 and into 2011, Canadian volunteers and project staff worked in cooperation with Ukrainian staff to develop the life skills curriculum, minimum standards of care for foster families, and training materials. In June, Canadian and Ukrainian staff and volunteers came together for training and to at last launch the project. Over the summer of 2011, foster parents were trained, homes were prepared and young women were placed in foster homes. From September, our life skills teachers have been teaching the curriculum in three orphanages in the Odessa region.
In addition to working directly with young people, World Hope Ukraine staff have been developing connections in the government, locally and nationally, and with orphanage Directors. The goal of these connections is to promote a foster system and life skills curriculum as a means of improving the standard of care for at-risk young people.
To date, Ukrainian staff are teaching the life skills curriculum to approximately 100 young people in 3 orphanages in Odessa. In addition, six at-risk young women are living with families as part of the foster pilot.
From here, we hope that the government will see the benefits of Project LifeStart, take interest, and expand the project to help at-risk young people throughout the Odessa region and beyond.
For updates on specific to Project LifeStart Odessa follow the Project LifeStart Odessa blog.
Our Canadian Volunteers are:
· Team LifeSkills: Beatrice Partington, Cathy Blok, and Candice Reaney.
· Team Foster Care: Rick and Anita Pybus.
· Translation: Zoia Grytsenko, Platon Boiko, and Anastasia Smolentseva.
· Team Videography: Matt Tomalty and Adam Klein.
Project LifeStart Staff are:
· Project Coordinator: Kostya Peretyatko
· Foster Care Coordinator: Dina Svystun
· Life Skills Teachers: Alyona and Valya
· Project Assistant: Andrea Reid
· Researcher: Alexei Durglishvili
· Researcher/Assistant: Kim Howson