Lidiia Kozhevnikova has been up to big things since winning Spirit’s Alumni Award contest last fall. The purpose of the contest was to honor Spirit’s 15th anniversary and to recognize former participants who have gone on to do significant things in their home country after their program. Lidiia decided to use her grand prize as a donation toward Joy of the Childhood, an organization she co-founded that helps Ukrainian youth.
Read on to hear more from Lidiia about the cultural events and photo exhibition she planned using the funds!
Moroccan Cultural Event
The event was organized for local youth who live with disabilities. More than 25 people attended the event and were able to learn some interesting facts about Morocco and participate in workshops dedicated to Moroccan culture. We had workshop on creating wooden amulet traditional “Hamsa Hand” and traditional Moroccan lanterns. Some of the participants even tried on Moroccan traditional dresses.
Japanese Cultural Event
We organized an event full of workshops dedicated to Japanese culture. The workshops included creating traditional hand-made earrings, origami and sushi. During the event participants were able to speak with Japanese guest, Haruka Ueda, ask questions, break stereotypes and try on traditional Japanese costumes.
I’ve met Haruka during my participation in the Ship for World Youth Program in Japan. We talked a lot about Ukraine, so she decided to come and visit our country and also share her culture for our cultural club.
Click here to read an article published about Lidiia's Japanese cultural event!
Chinese Cultural Event
Our last cultural event was dedicated to China. We invited special guests who are locals, but spent more than a year working in China. They prepared Chinese tea ceremony for participants and were able to speak about cultural differences and traditions of China.
Our cultural events are popular because people have the opportunity to travel overseas without leaving Ukraine. They gain knowledge and inspiration to learn about new cultures.
We are currently planning a photo exhibition for the end of May or beginning of June called “Beauty Without Borders”. We’ve taken portraits of 19 people and offered the girls professional make-up and hair style before the photo session.
The project is about inclusion for people with disabilities. Our society is not inclusive of people with disabilities and is lacking facilities for them. The purpose of the exhibition is to let youth with disabilities go into their community, make new friends and speak about their needs.
Spirit is thrilled to hear what Lidiia has accomplished with her Alumni Award prize, and can’t wait to hear about her future endeavors.