Natalia Karbowska: Today one can see first years participants on TV, many of them work in governmental agencies, political parties, many created their own civil society organizations and stand actively for their position and change life of their communities for better. Definitely, they are already sucessful!

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Meeting of 2012 Program winners

Meeting of 2012 Program winners

May 31 – June 1


Meeting of this year winners of all-Ukrainian contest of First Step to Success young women's leadership program took place.

Traditionally the winners' meeting lasted for two days  filled with diverse events. It started with morning tea in Shtolle cafe, where first informal acquaintance occurred.

And after excursion in the premises of Ukrainian Parliament, the girls went to Parliament Committees to be awarded and have round table with participation of women-leaders — People's Deputy Lesya Orobets, Director of Parliamentary Development Program in Ukraine Eleanora Valentine, Director of Ukrainian Women's Fund Olesya Bondar and Program winners of previous years, who shared with young activists their experiences and secrets of success.

The round table was opened by the words of the program founder Marta Kolomayets: «Dear girls, I greet you from far Chicago. I am sorry that I am not with you, but I am proud of you! I am proud that there are 30 winners this year, that you are from different regions of Ukraine... Thouth it is just your "first step to success", I hope that it is the beginning of your successful work!» At present Marta is far from Kyiv and she was not able to be present at the meeting, but she greeted the girls warmly and sincerely from the screen. And it was extreamly pleasant and exciting to see her and hear her speech.

«I would like to congratulate you with your victory, and I am very proud of you, of the works you sent, as they are very interesting and diverse. We will work together further. Ukrainian Women's Fund respects and supports the ideas you sent to us, — said Olesya Bonadr, the UWF Director, — And we are ready after additional training to provide financing to those of you, who are ready to implement their projects. And in this way you will able to change life of your community for the better». The Fund's Director invited the girls to collaborate in future, take part in trainings, internships, special projects and programs.

Lesya Orobets oted that it is necessary to develop own talent, find own niche and clearly define own priorities. «After any achievement (successful or not) ask youself two questions: hat was successful, what worked well; what can be done better next time. And one more thing: you should define your talent, surround youdelf with successful people, who will value you and will help to develop your talent, Orobets told in her speech, — Don't waste time for people who dislike you and dont' wish you good. Be sure in your priorities, as it is impossible to be excellent in everything».

«The girls have a very creative approach to their projects and to life on the whole. Firs Step to Success Program is the way to good future, it gives the girls opportunity to support each other in their projects», — Eleanor Valentine stressed.

Presentations of four Program winners of previous years were useful and interesting. They also told their success stories, about steps they made, about challenges they addressed, where they moved to achieve their goals and influence on development of their communities. At present these young women have ceratain achievements in creating and developing own organizations, influencing decisions of local governance bodies and participating in Parliamentary internship in Ukraine. Exactly these girls got opportunity to take part in informal communication with successful women-politicians and civil society leaders of Ukraine and abroad on the eve of today's event.

After awarding ceremony the contest winners had educational program, which included master class of Natalia Kryvoi (2008 Program winner) on the topic «Basics of Time Management» and round table – acquaintance of the girls, which supposed short presentations of their ideas of improving life in their communities. For example, «Project for Mariupol city community: " What do you know about cancer?"»; «Creating local social network for children with health problems, where they can communicate staying at home»; «Organizing in Kyiv the School for female students, which would take place twice a year; its attendees would have opportunity to attend together different events, create and implement different projects, exchange books, movies, conduct discussions, amke presentations, develop further together», «Raising girls' awareness of consequences of early sexual intercourse, contraception methods, forming skills of safe bahavior through starting "School of Future Women" and conducting regular sessions and consultations for girls»; «Complex of events to counteract gender inequality at labor market», — such and other projects were discussed during the evening. As usual, discussion was so vivid and active, that there was not enough time, and it continued as informal communication in hotel rooms. «I really didn;t expect that it would happen in Kyiv. Of course, I read the agenda, but it is impossibel to describe the event atmosphere!..» noted this year winner tetyana Shtepa in her comments.

Second day morning started with master class «Basics of Journalism» by Lyubov Bahatska (2008 Program winner) and continued with traditional training on Women's Leadership and Youth Philanthropy during which the girls got understanding of leadership, peculiarities of women's leadership in civil society activism. After the training they had a meeting with Larysa Kobelyanska, Councellor to Prime Minister of Ukraine on gender issues, deputy vice-president of the Academy of State Administration at the President of Ukraine. «Nobody would come from Mars to make our country better. If you want to live better, in the country you imagine or saw while travelling, there are two ways: you can go and live there; or you can make this country here!»  - noted Larysa in her speech. Her story about her life, overcoming obstacles and achieving success became a real life example for the Program participants. «Position is not a success; success is in results you can achieve at that position - majority of girls wrote these words in their papers and remembered after the meeting.

Two days' event was completed with visit to the galery of contemporary art PinchukArtCenter. And after that, full of new knowledge, ideas and inspiration, 2012 First Step to Success winners went home to different regions of Ukraine, from West to East, from North to South.

«Numerous interesting meetings and trainings during two days influenced my outlook, they will make me better, more creative and cleverer. These days and events will stay with me for the whole life; they gave me incentive for new achievements, which will bring me to success», Fedenko Yelizaveta (2012 Program winner).



 This year meeting took place in collaboration with excellent

youth team of co-organizers,

Program participants,

winners of the years 2006 - 2011. 

Owing to your initiative, new ideas, active participation this year's meeting was different from all previous ones; it was full of diverse learning and friendly atmosphere.


The Program's organizational committee expresses gratitude to

partners, sponsors and donors of the meeting:

Indiana University Parliamentary development Program

Charitable Fund «Save Us - Save the Children» with support of FOODBANK

«PinchukArtCentr» Center of Contemporry Art

«Coca-Cola Ukraine»

«AVON» Ukraine


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