Sheffield University: Teen refugees fleeing war and persecution to become community leaders

Teenagers who have fled war or persecution to South Yorkshire will be trained to become community leaders in a new University of Sheffield project.
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The Young Changemakers project is already providing the teenagers training in business and finance from Sheffield University’s Management School. The initiative is seeing the teens working together to create their own ideas of how Sheffield can reach one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Two sessions have already taken place with the group and the programme will end with a mock UN meeting, where they will present their recommendations to Sheffield City Council.

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Lena Mandrik, Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, said: “Reallocation to another country is difficult for everyone, but in particular, for adolescents. Many of them do not integrate easily into the new society and need help to engage.

Teenage refugees are set to become Sheffield community leaders thanks to a new project launched by Sheffield University.Teenage refugees are set to become Sheffield community leaders thanks to a new project launched by Sheffield University.
Teenage refugees are set to become Sheffield community leaders thanks to a new project launched by Sheffield University.

“Through this project, our team wants to create future changemakers among adolescents who recently reallocated in Sheffield.”

It is hoped that by taking part in the project the children will be able to enhance a number of skills and help their future careers. One class was run by Olena Zhygula - a Ukrainian refugee and former head of a commercial company in Ukraine who studied English at the University’s English Language Teaching Centre.

The Young Changemakers prohect was launched as part of Sheffield University’s University of Sanctuary initiative, which offers support to students, scholars and other staff seeking sanctuary in the UK, or affected by war in their home nations.

The University of Sheffield twinned with one of Ukraine’s oldest and largest universities in 2022, in order to support staff and students affected by Putin’s War.