Living in the 21st century has many advantages, such as the rise of interculturalism, the fight for gender equality, the defence of human rights, awareness of the importance of mental and physical health, youth movements and global connections. These advantages have arisen in response to social problems that we have been suffering from, for instance, war.
Suppose you consider yourself an active person, and you are because you have reached this article. In that case, I am sure that in the last month, you have consumed a lot of information, news, videos, photographs, table discussions, etc., about the war in Ukraine (or about any of the war conflicts that our society is facing). What’s more, just as happened with the pandemic, unlimited consumption of information will push you to the limits of your mental health, which is normal since we are experiencing an unfair situation where we can do nothing. And this leads us to a state of helplessness where we perceive the threat, but we cannot take control of it. It seems that there are only two ways: to continue beating our mental health or to turn off the cell phone and ignore the issue. Of course, the first is not recommended, but the second disconnect us from the world.
What if we could even improve the state of our mental health previous to this massive consumption of information? We may not be able to stop the war, we may not be able to go to the front lines of combat, but the help goes far beyond that. Being an active citizen implies being aware of what is going on around us and actively participating in one way or another in society. That allows us to take control and break away from the feelings of helplessness caused by injustices or catastrophes happening around us.
As we were saying, the situation of the current war with Ukraine has moved you inside and has put you in an uncomfortable position with yourself; it is because there is a part of you that needs to do something about it. Don’t stop informing yourself. Use that need as a motivation to become actively involved in helping Ukrainians. It doesn’t matter where you are: Ukraine, a border country or far beyond.
Participation can range from small actions such as financial and material donations to organizations providing aid to starting to get involved in the organization itself, to creating your aid project. Many organizations are presenting support and are willing for volunteers’ help (at the end of the blog, we leave you a small list of them).
But you can also create your own project, from creating your resource collection point for sending aid, to doing small awareness workshops in your community (school, workplace, neighbourhood assembly, libraries, bars and town halls), up to creating a reception project for Ukrainian people who may arrive in your town (health care, search for residence, translated guides, daily dictionaries with several languages, multicultural meetings and training workshops).
Participating actively not only helps you to take control over your environment and your life. It will also help you live in the present giving meaning to your life, developing social relationships, increasing your self-concept and self-esteem, and enhancing your well-being and that of others.
Remember that wherever you live and wherever you go, there you are, and you have the ability to take control of your environment.
In order to foster active citizenship, youth group “Global Changemakers” together with Active Youth decided to carry out the project “We are all connected” to train and motivate young people to participate in their community. During one week, through non-formal methodology, 42 young people from 6 different countries (Lithuania, Turkey, North Macedonia, Poland, Spain) will have the opportunity to learn from people from countries and different cultures while learning techniques and ways to impact their community actively. Likewise, after the program, they will be able to undertake their own social initiatives with our support along the way.
List of organizations where you can provide human and/or material help:
- Red Cross: https://www.redcross.lt/kontaktai-organizaciju-teikianciu-humanitarine-pagalba-ukrainieciams
- Caritas Lithuania: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfuRfXPqaHOsUlNVemCSb-XVsJ6HJqkEYpVz4ILjV1pAH6-Nw/viewform?fbclid=IwAR3oR0kfzp2aqw2-ollupCor5P1gfONfsU5cCHsHog7IodIlMYXssUcgHnI
- Order of Malta Relief Organization: https://maltieciai.lt/tapk-maltieciu-savanoriu/
- Save the Children: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfy0USR1mK5cY02QbtWCGCKN58N6B4KGBamTRTV_GPLPOG4-A/viewform?fbclid=IwAR17oEvdkSIn4h7FTyYSX40CoACiMZR1A0HC-g91Vq92ka_sIxwqifmTE4Y
- Strong together: https://stipruskartu.lt/lt/
- Collection point for humanitarian aid for Ukrainians in Vilnius: https://vilnius.lt/en/2022/03/07/a-collection-point-for-humanitarian-aid-for-ukrainians-was-opened-on-europa-square/
- Useful information for Ukrainian refugees: https://visitukraine.today/blog/217/lithuania-useful-information-for-ukrainian-refugees
- Guide for Ukranians: https://investlithuania.com/guide-for-ukrainians-ru/
- Help in Vilnius for Ukraine: https://ukraina.vilnius.lt/en/
Active Youth is collecting food that we deliver to Ukrainians families and we discuss this topic in some of our events, you can contact us for more information.