“We prove to people that happiness is in the simplest things”

A team of volunteers has developed in Rohatyn district a programme "Fira" for children and youth

Maria Pylypiv
26 September 2022

Hi there! I am Maria Pylypiv, founder of the Fira project. My team is Oksana Pylypiv, Daria Hryvnak and Natalia Pylypiv. We come from the small town of Rohatyn, in the west of Ukraine. 

Since the beginning of the war, we have tried to help those who needed it – we volunteered, organized charity fairs, screened movies at the youth centre and conducted other activities. We organized all of these in our city, but then decided to go further afield. And we succeeded. Our team conducted a survey and found out that residents of the villages around Rohatyn also needed active leisure and recreation, especially in difficult times. This became our motivation.

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UNICEF

The name of our project – Fira – means a cart with a horse in Ukrainian. During the project planning, we imagined finding such a cart and riding it to a village, bringing a projector, a speaker, games, a good mood and our enthusiasm.

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UNICEF

Thanks to the UPSHIFT programme and UNICEF, Fira was soon ready to visit villages in the Rohatyn district for the first time and lift the mood of entire communities. My team, together with mentor Dmytro Savostianov, developed a programme for children, youth and all project participants. Then we prepared all the necessary materials, gathered volunteers who were ready to help in the implementation of our Fira project, and left for the first village – Fraga.

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UNICEF
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UNICEF

Our first trip

On 7 August, we planned to make our first trip. Our team was very anxious to make sure everything went well. We arrived in the village of Fraga, where the participants of our project were already waiting for us. People were of different ages – from young to old. We unpacked the board games, sports equipment and educational games so that the participants were able to choose an activity to their liking. Everyone was delighted with so many classes! And while watching the Emoji animated film, the villagers felt like they were in a cinema. All those who joined us really enjoyed singing Ukrainian songs, with chants to the guitar. To make people move, we all danced together, and nobody could stand still. Also, we prepared coloured crayons and sheets of paper for everyone, and the participants wrote and drew what they remembered or liked the most during the Fira project in their village. And though we were afraid of rain in the morning, the weather was very nice during our activities.

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UNICEF
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UNICEF

The Fira project visited three villages. But we will not stop there – we plan to visit all the villages in the Rohatyn district. Children, young people and all of us want to feel that there are many reasons to be happy, so even the colour of our T-shirts (yellow) symbolises something good and cheerful. People from the villages that Fira has not yet visited are asking us to come to them. And this is our biggest motivation. After each trip, we want to see many smiling people who have realized that happiness is in very simple things.

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UNICEF

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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