Plant at Home – A New Trend Connecting Young People
Plant at Home (#СадиСиДома) is a UNICEF supported #VolunteersForChildren initiative created by youth for youth.
Plant at Home (#СадиСиДома) is a UNICEF supported #VolunteersForChildren initiative created by youth for youth. It aims to support young people’s mental health by connecting them with their peers, spreading positive energy and raising awareness on environment. Through their Instagram profile @sadisidoma, young people are taking to the new trend, responding to gardening challenges, sharing ideas and tips on planting and nurturing plants.
UNICEF Young Reporters, Veronika Gijovska (16) and Kristijan Popovski (17) had the opportunity to meet and talk with Angela Blazevska (24) and Filip Todosov (18), two of the leaders behind the Plant at Home (#СадиСиДома) initiative.
It is said that gardening adds days to our lives, but also life to our days. That’s why we can say that the Plant at Home (#СадиСиДома) team has chosen a great strategy to support young people and their mental health – it makes our days more interesting, keeps us active at home, reminds us that difficult times will pass.
Who are the volunteers behind Plant at Home?
UNICEF volunteers Filip and Angela are two smiling young people with a wonderful idea and highly motivated. Together with the volunteers Milka Mukaetova (19), Anastasija Anastasovska (16) and Svetlana Zuzarovska (24), they recently launched the initiative, which quickly grew into something they didn’t expect.
The seed for their idea was sown at the very first UNICEF supported “Volunteering in the time of COVID-19” workshop where volunteers were taken through a design process and generated lots of ideas on issues important to young people. The Plant аt Home was the one that won over many of the participants.
After some time of hard work, preparation, sharing ideas and excitement, on 6 April, the team posted the first challenge on their Instagram channel, triggering other volunteers to get involve sharing and posting photo of their home garden.
What activities do they carry out?
Their idea is to post a new challenge for their supporters and followers on Instagram every Wednesday. We have to say that the challenges we’ve seen are extremely fun and interesting to do – from cultivating strawberry seed from the fruit itself to using recycled items that people have around the home as pots.
They also keep supporters and followers motivated by sharing messages on positivity and the impact of gardening on mental health, interesting quizzes and lesser-known facts. The volunteers revealed to us that as soon as the circumstances allow for it, they will be organizing swap events where volunteers can come together to exchange seedlings and seeds that they have prepared for planting. They also plan to start distributing Starter Kits to their volunteer activators to further spread the idea.
What idea do they want to spread?
Planting and gardening have many benefits than most think. By planting, people get a lot more than just oxygen, a lot more than just a hobby and color in their gardens - they get inspired, learn how to care and nurture and develop a strong sense of hope.
By sharing our success with followers and loved ones, by nurturing the thriving plants and helping them to bloom, we learn the importance of taking care about our own thoughts and feelings and personally bloom from within.
“We are all in this [COVID-19] situation together and we believe that all this will pass faster if we focus on positive thoughts and things like gardening. People can take part in our challenges and simply enjoy it until the situation gets normal, but we hope our initiative will continue beyond,” says Filip.
In addition, Plant at Home aims to contribute to ongoing global warming discussion that young people are increasingly talking about. Planting new plants, recycling products and developing a love of the natural environment, may one day contribute to broader change.
“I would say that for every idea that a young person has, they should strive to implement it and help their community, because one small gesture can mean a lot,” shared Angela.
What motivates them to continue with their work?
In fact, they draw their most powerful motivation from the large number of people joining the initiative and from other volunteers. They shared with us that every day, they receive tremendous support and interest in getting involved by their community. In less than two months of launching, they have over 1000 people following the initiative and over 50 volunteer activators engaged in spreading the cause.
The idea that a change is taking place in society, as well as the positive messages they create together with all the volunteers, further motivates them to continue this initiative even after the COVID-19 health crisis.
Since kicking off their first challenge, they have received messages from many Instagram followers, praising them and making their day, giving them ideas on how to improve and simply giving them feedback on how they are progressing.
What is the role of volunteer leaders, and what is the role of volunteer activators?
Volunteer leaders manage the initiative and Instagram profile, while volunteer activators contribute with content and activities in their communities. Throughout the process, leaders would not have succeeded without the valuable contribution of the volunteer activators. Angela and Flip say that activators are indeed an important part of their success, and without them everything would be much harder.
Currently, about 50 young activators are tirelessly helping them and constantly proposing new ideas. “The collaboration is going perfectly, and the activators are inspired and always surprise us,” they say.
Nothing else can be said but “WELL DONE” to these young people who decided to dedicate their time to something so beautiful.
They reminded us that there is always hope and everyone can have it, they made it easier for us to go through these difficult times and they simply showed us that we can achieve anything when we take action - happiness is here, and all we need is just a few seeds and a little soil.
So what are you waiting for? Take a pot, boot, drawer, box, bottle or can and a few seeds from your favorite plant. Join them, and in the meantime “snap” a photo you can put on post or story (using the hashtag #SadiSiDoma and #VolunteersForChildren), helping us grow their big, virtual garden of hope.
Expect the next challenge next Wednesday, and until then, stay positive, friends.
Prepared by UNICEF Young Reporters:
Blogs written by UNICEF Young Reporters are part of a UNICEF volunteer initiative to give young people the space to share their own views on topics important to them. The work of the Young Reporters during COVID-19 pandemic is partly funded by USAID.