Human Rights School for Young Leaders

Project Overview

An opportunity for young leaders in the Zakarpattya region of Ukraine to learn about human rights and participate in public discussions with members of the human rights community.

Identifying the Problem

Located in southwestern Ukraine, Zakarpattya borders Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. With the cities and towns in this region so multi-ethnic and multicultural, Zakarpattya’s students have the potential to be strong human rights leaders in Ukraine. Nadiya wanted to increase the knowledge of human rights among students in the region, and provide them with an opportunity to strengthen their local advocacy efforts around economic and social justice. She believed that a renewed focus on human rights issues would support Ukraine’s democratic transition, and that including young leaders in the process would only serve to strengthen the transition.

Creating A Solution

Nadiya chose to engage students in three cities and towns in Zakarpattya: Uzhgorod, Rakhiv and Yasinya. She began by creating the concept for her project. She wanted it to include workshops and trainings that would educate about human rights mechanisms, standards and laws. She also wanted to provide opportunities for comparative learning, aimed at increasing participants’ knowledge and understanding of the human rights models. Nadiya also wanted her project to facilitate cooperation with local human rights organizations. She decided to partner with the European Youth Movement, the Ukrainian Humanity in Action Senior Fellows Association and Perspektyva, the Transcarpathian Professional Women Educators’ Association.

Once Nadiya had developed the plan for her project, she reached out to schools in Uzhgorod, Rakhiv and Yasinya, and invited 100 students to participate in her Human Rights School for Young Leaders. The students were 14-16 years old, and eager to learn more about human rights. Nadiya’s project provided seven workshops and trainings for these students, as well as opportunities for the students to engage in public discussions attended by academics, NGO activists and local officials. Nadiya’s project focused on human rights issues such as racism, discrimination and intolerance in Ukraine. The young participants were challenged to think about how to incorporate these issues into the framework for their country’s transition to a stronger democracy, as well as towards greater economic and social justice. 

The Human Rights School for Young Leaders enabled the participants to increase their knowledge and understanding of the contemporary causes and consequences of xenophobia as well as the many religious, ethnic, racial, gender and national identities represented in Europe. Nadiya’s project provided these young leaders with the tools to develop regional projects with real social impact. It also encouraged partnerships between participants by helping them to identify areas of common interest and develop ideas for future cooperation. This project led to the creation of the Facebook page Diversity and Inclusion, which aims to promote democratic values and human rights throughout the world.

Lessons Learned

Nadiya was heavily influenced by the Humanity in Action model, and sought to incorporate its principles into her own Action Project. She found that structuring her Human Rights School for Young Leaders as a condensed version of a Humanity in Action fellowship was immensely helpful for successfully instilling human rights principles in the project participants. Nadiya also disseminated information about Humanity in Action to the students who participated in her project, so that they could learn more about the organization’s activities. For Nadiya, it was important for the participants to learn about the very real possibilities for pursuing human rights, as well as all of the networking opportunities that are available.


Nadiya raised $1,000 for this project. In addition to the financial support from donors, she is grateful for the partner organizations who volunteered their time and expertise in order to make this project a success.

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About This Project

HIA Program:

Poland Poland 2012

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