Championing healthy relationships
and sexual wellbeing

Visiting Belarus

Earlier this year, acet UK’s Sarah and Anna visited the ACET Belarus team to see them in action. During their stay, they observed a session at a sports college, ACET Belarus talk shows, and their schools work. Here's a snapshot of their visit - you can also check out the video below to find out a bit more.

At the sports college

Yury engaged 70 students in an interactive session using discussion, humour, videos and stories. The session explored how good relationships can be built and nurtured.

Yury asked the students why they think 60% of marriages in Belarus end in divorce and then offered additional thoughts: getting married too young; wanting different things; having a casual approach to life; being unaware of what a healthy relationship is or of the reality of marriage.

He acknowledged that the 16 to 18-year-olds in the room may have already experienced unhealthy relationships or been betrayed, and reassured them that, even though life may not be easy, it is possible to learn how to have healthy relationships and make good choices.

Yury encouraged the students to think before entering into a relationship. Are we both clear where we stand? Are we expecting the same thing from this relationship? What qualities am I looking for in a partner? Am I being genuine and honest, and acting with integrity myself?

Yury spoke about the importance of communication and empathy between two people, about listening and giving emotional support. He emphasized that, in successful relationships, partners work together as a team, that it’s important to get to know someone before entering into a relationship, and how having multiple partners or one night stands can cause pain and heartbreak.

“From today’s session, I have learnt that to make a happy family, I should get to know someone before being in a relationship with them - and the impact this can have on the future of our country.” Tationa, 18-years-old

Talk show about drug addiction

Victor from ACET Belarus facilitated a talk show about drug addiction, between three guest panelists (a psychiatrist, a priest and a recovered drug addict) and an audience of college students.

By asking questions of the audience and the panel, Victor established what addiction is, and explored the biological, psychological, economic and social causes. He then led a discussion on the potential consequences of drug addiction on the individual, and their friends, family and community.

Michael, a recovered drug addict told his story. His father was an alcoholic and, influenced by friends, he started drinking and smoking himself at the age of 10, and was injecting drugs by age 20. “It starts slowly, you just say you’ll try something once but then you keep wanting to try new things.” Michael got into a lot of debt, lost his friends and family, and became suicidal.

Michael then explained that only 2 to 4% of addicts manage to get clean. Nearly all his friends died in their early 20s. Even though he has been clean for 14 years, Michael explained the lasting impact on his physical health - his teeth are decayed and he suffers from joint pain. It was only when he acknowledged that he was an addict, that Michael beat his addiction, with the help of his church.

Through his work as an ACET Belarus volunteer, Michael is now having a significant impact on the lives on many young people through sharing his story. The young people Sarah and Anna met during their visit to Belarus told them that drug dealers are recruiting and targeting their friends, using the lure of income to distribute drugs.

Victor asked the panel and the audience for strategies of how to avoid turning to drugs in the first place. Suggestions included: having goals in life; being honest and open with your parents; having friends that don’t take drugs; having somewhere to turn to when you are facing challenges; and having faith in God.

In school number 5, ACET Belarus volunteer, Andre, led a session on friendship with a class of 14-year-olds.

Starting with a game, the young people wrote down proverbs about friendship e.g. ‘better to be rich in friends than rich in money’ and then took part in a quiz.

Andre then led a discussion about how to make friends, maintain friendships and communicate well. Ideas included: sharing good times and sorrow; showing understanding; helping friends; and having fun together.

He spoke about how it takes time to build friendships, yet they can end quickly, so it’s important to think about the choices we make and how we create trust. Andre and his colleague, Yury, then acted out a roleplay about trust.  

Schoolswork

In school number 5, ACET Belarus volunteer, Andre, led a session on friendship with a class of 14-year-olds.

Starting with a game, the young people wrote down proverbs about friendship e.g. ‘better to be rich in friends than rich in money’ and then took part in a quiz.

Andre then led a discussion about how to make friends, maintain friendships and communicate well. Ideas included: sharing good times and sorrow; showing understanding; helping friends; and having fun together.

He spoke about how it takes time to build friendships, yet they can end quickly, so it’s important to think about the choices we make and how we create trust. Andre and his colleague, Yury, then acted out a roleplay about trust.

“Some parents not only know about the seminars and are happy about them, but they sometimes attend themselves to learn!” Assistant to the Headteacher