From the 21st to 26th October 2019, a youth social project week took place in Ukraine with the topic “Eco -not Ego!”. After two project weeks with our partner, the Salesian High School in Lviv, we gladly followed the invitation of the Salesians and accomplished this year’s project week in the capital Kyiv. 21 young people from different parts of the Ukraine came together to live one week in the spirit of socioMovens.
For the first time, environment & ecology and the associated social challenges were our maintopic. We started with a lecture by one of the few environmental protection organisations in Ukraine, which promoted a waste separation system in industry and private households and warns of the consequences of insufficient state support. After our dinner socioMovens and the Fazenda da Esperanca stood in the spotlight of the attention. By telling each other about our exciting experiences, we grew together as a group quickly. In Kyiw we reached the botanical garden after a long trip with the typical east european busses, the “Maschrutkas”, the metro and the train. The botanic garden was already impressive in its variety. There we were inspired by an exciting lecture on how plant products could replace plastic and other raw materials in the future. Tired of the long day we went to our beds after our daily evening prayer and the reflection of the motto of the days “Sports for Peace” cube.
After the morning impulse, an interesting workshop turned us into real environmental and climate experts: we learned about career opportunities in the climate sector, challenges for the economy and several practical hints for life, a report on how climate policy is conducted in Germany and what we can learn from each other. To sum it up: We had no lack of input! On Thursday, Prof. Volodymyr Scheremeta, chairman of the Environmental Bureau of the Ukrainian Bishops and member of the advisory board of socioMovens, gave a lecture which introduced us even deeper into the content. He made reference to the encyclical Laudato Si of Pope Francis, which serves as a signpost of Christian responsibility for creation and the environment and an “ecology of man”. Later we visited a recycling factory that makes books and pencils for schoolchildren from old paper cups. Of course, we also visited the Greek Catholic Cathedral, where we met the environmental officer of the Curia, who theologically and socio-ethically deepened the topic of responsibility for creation.
In the end we can say: the highly motivated young people have earned their certificate honestly and they went home with many ideas on how they can work for ecology and social cohesion in Ukraine in the future. They all agreed: the commitment for creation cannot be separated from social issues and as a group the commitment for the common good is not only more effective but also more fun! In this sense they have done all honour to the topic: Eco -not Ego!