ACET Ukraine is working in a challenging context, with continued conflict in the east of the country and a strong cultural taboo in regards to talking about sex. This taboo is a legacy of the old Soviet rule when, as one teacher put it, “sex didn’t exist.”
In the first half of the year, 246 trained ACET Ukraine volunteers reached 13,015 young people across 79 cities, with their Healthy Youth University relationships and sex education programme. These lessons included the prevention of substance abuse and HIV, both of which continue to be hot topics in Ukraine. The number of people living with HIV has increased to 316,000; 50 people die of AIDS-related illnesses and 9 people are newly infected every day. Drug addiction in Ukraine is the highest in Europe, increasing annually by 7-11%.
Teachers and parents also benefitted from ACET Ukraine’s work with 6,335 teachers and 2,866 parents receiving training during the 6 month period.
The Head of Pastoral Care at one school said,
“I believe it is because of this co-operation between our school and ACET that none of the students are involved in crime and we don’t see students smoking or addicted to alcohol. Through working with ACET, we have also seen a change in our teachers. We have learnt to have a personal approach to each child to meet their individual needs. We can’t use a formula. This has been a revelation to me. We have seen the teachers apply this.”