Seven months ago, Juliana Bondarchuk abandoned the war-torn Ukraine. Juliana is from Mykolaiv. It was impossible to live in the basement of her home, hiding from bombings every day. “We decided to leave Ukraine after having to sit in the basement all day. There was no way to charge the phone, call family and friends,” said Juliana.
Juliana has already learned the Latvian language somewhat. If necessary, she also communicates with the others in Russian and English.
In Latvia, Juliana learns at Riga's 64th high school. Part of the classes are remote for her, connecting to her teachers in Ukraine. Very recently, Juliana has been involved in the work of a student enterprise in Latvia.
Student Vivāna Vintra Veinberga said their company produces beeswax lip balms from natural raw materials, with a variety of fragrances. Viviāna, who has taken Juliana in her team, said there are no problems with her teammates. "We speak both English and Russian. The team all understands Russian, but it's easier to speak English. We understand each other. In this way, we can get to know our culture very well, how we learn, our education system. There is a greater sense of belonging when you are more involved with Latvian young people rather than just a group of Ukrainians or just Latvians."
Junior Achievement Latvia has launched a special project this year to help young Ukrainian people integrate into Latvia and develop skills useful for the labor market.
“They won't have a target to make a product and sell it. It is our job to establish joint teams between Latvians and Ukrainian young people so that they can find solutions to any existing problems with social orientation,” said Jānis Krievāns, head of Junior Achievement Latvia.
The organization intends to involve around 2,000 Ukrainian young people and children in various activities. There are a variety of training options and the opportunity of participating in 'Shadow Day' as well as working in student enterprises.
Juliana says she is satisfied with the possibility of involvement in various activities in Latvia: “It is interesting for me, because I can get a new experience.”
Similar activities are offered to Ukrainian young people in 13 European countries. A total of 300 000 participants are planned to be involved.