UNICEF and JA Europe partner to support young ukrainian refugees 2022-10-24

The partnership, called UPLIFT Youth, aims to help vulnerable youth who have arrived from Ukraine

25 October 2022
Партньорството, наречено UPLIFT Youth, цели да помогне на уязвимите младежи, пристигнали от Украйна
UNICEF and JA Europe

UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and Junior Achievement Europe are launching a new partnership to support young Ukrainian refugees across Europe. 

The partnership, called UPLIFT Youth, aims to equip the most vulnerable youth and adolescents who arrived from Ukraine to neighbouring countries, with the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities. The local youths will also be part of the project, to foster integration and social cohesion among young people, while also giving them a chance to transition from learning to earning.

Eleven countries will take part in the project - Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia, with the support of JA Greece, JA Italy and JA Ukraine.

By combining their expertise and experience, UNICEF and JA Europe aim at increased youth engagement, participation and resilience, contributing to improved youth employability, a competitive labour force, sustained economic growth, improved governance, and vibrant civil societies in Europe.

Nina Ferencic, Regional Adviser on Adolescent Development at the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, said: “UNICEF has worked closely with several national JA organisations in the past and we are delighted to embark on this pan-European project. JA Europe and UNICEF, working together with national partners and young people, are in a unique position to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of young Ukrainians and young people throughout Europe, promoting shared values of respect and solidarity.”

Salvatore Nigro, CEO of JA Europe, said: “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures: we are very grateful to UNICEF for believing in the power of JA. Together, we bring decades of experience and expertise, and share a clear focus to make the integration of young Ukrainians into their new lives more successful. It is a true honour for JA Europe to work with a Nobel Peace Prize winner.”

Mariam, a 18-years old girl from Somalia who took part in a recent JA Greece – UNICEF project, shares: “I enjoy my job as we work as a team. I have learnt how to communicate with different people from different cultures. In the future, I imagine myself studying languages.”

Christina de Bruin, Representative of UNICEF in Bulgaria, says: ”We are thrilled to start this partnership with Junior Achievement, which will address one of the world's most pressing issues – the skills gap among young people. Recent research of UNICEF shows that three of every four young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are failing to acquire the skills they need for work. This partnership is an opportunity to support the development of young people and create an enabling environment in which they can create innovative solutions for the benefit of society and the economy.

Milena Stoycheva, CEO of JA Bulgaria believes that : “In challenging times what matters is providing support and care for all in need. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to join forces with UNICEF and work through education and invest through what we know best in expanding educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth to support and empower them.”

The project will run until the end of 2023, in 11 countries, with the ambition to be rolled out in more countries across Europe.

UNICEF and JA Europe

Media contacts

Boryana Gidikova
Communication Officer
UNICEF Bulgaria
Tel: +359 893 52 52 40


For 75 years, UNICEF has worked in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org