Building self-esteem through meaningful participation and volunteering
UNICEF is helping young people in Tajikistan to realize their potential and express their opinions
"It was always difficult for me to express my opinion and I used to be very shy."
Shahrom Yormamadov, 20, is a third-year student studying Labour Relations Regulation. He is a well-known young volunteer and blogger with more than ten thousand followers on social media. This year he was selected to represent voices of young people at the Volunteer Festival in Dushanbe.
Shahrom was a shy person and, as he recalls, he became interested in volunteering as a way to boost his own confidence. He was looking for an opportunity to get out of his comfort zone and learn how to express himself. He came in contact with UNICEF in 2017 and in 2021, Shahrom became part of UNICEF Tajikistan's Young People Advisory Group (YPAG) - a consultative body established to ensure systematic and meaningful participation of adolescents and young people in UNICEF programmes.
"Within YPAG, we were invited by UNICEF to express our thoughts, aspirations and concerns, to give feedback and to help in the planning and monitoring of UNICEF's programmes,"-says Shahrom.
YPAG also provided Shahrom with a series of training sessions aimed at building young people's confidence and ability to express their opinions and thoughts.
"The personal development workshops and training I went through at the very beginning of my introduction to UNICEF have had a huge impact on my life. Thanks to them, I have been able to seize opportunities and become more confident,"- says Shahrom.
Over the course of 2021-2022, Shahrom participated in and contributed to a number of UNICEF initiatives in Tajikistan, including the launch and promotion of the parenting app "Bebbo", focus groups to develop a national employment strategy, and the promotion of an online training module on children's rights. Shahrom says that UNICEF’s training and his experience with YPAG inspired him to start blogging on social media and share the knowledge he gained with other young people. Sharom mainly shares useful content with his audience and promotes volunteering as a way to develop himself and encourage others.
The year 2023 brought him even greater success. His subscribers and friends started to ask him about new opportunities and events where they could volunteer. This prompted Shahrom to create his own platform on Instagram to profile volunteering opportunities. His channel is called ‘United Volunteers’ and there are a total of 255 activists on all his platforms.
"By running my own channel dedicated to volunteering, I decided to contact different organizations and motivate them to recruit more volunteers for events, there by giving more opportunities to young people to participate in society in a positive way,"- recalls Shahrom.
On several occasions, Sharom has also been recruited by these organisations to work as a volunteer coordinator for large festivals, where he has managed more than 100 volunteers. He is definitely not a shy young man any longer!
"I think it is important to teach our society to value the contribution of young volunteers - to praise them, to motivate them, to always respect them, to listen to them and to solve challenges with their help,"-concludes Shahrom.