Ukrainian Canadians Urged to Volunteer for GoCamps

Oksana Nechyporenko (left) and Mustafa Nayyem. Marco Levytsky

English-language education program cited as opening door to the West.

NP-UN Western Bureau.

Members of the audience at a meeting with the Founder and Director of the GoCamps Initiative, were urged to volunteer and help teach Ukrainian children English as a means of opening the door to Western ideas and media.

“Our big dream was to give the Ukrainian people the tool of integration to the big world and the main tool is language,” said Mustafa Nayyem, a Member of Ukraine’s Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada and the founder of GoCamp.

“The key to English in Ukraine is opening the door to the West,” added Nestor Petriw, himself a 2016 volunteer for the program, who introduced Nayyem and Oksana Nechyporenko, Director of the GoCamps Initiative, at a meeting of the Ukrainian Canadian Professional & Business Association of Edmonton (UCPBAE), held at the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex, March 28.

“The key to opening the door to democracy is to open the door to the West and the key to that is communication and being able to communicate freely in English,” he added.

GoCamp is the biggest volunteer program in Eastern Europe, where volunteers from around the world motivate kids to learn foreign languages and introduce the world to children from all over Ukraine.

The main goal is to educate a new young generation of active and conscious citizens of Ukraine, capable of life long learning, and prepared for the challenges of the 21st century, fluent in foreign languages and open to other cultures and experiences.

GoCamps was founded in 2016 when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared 2016 the Year of English in Ukraine. In the first year 100 volunteers came from 24 countries. Last year that number grew to 600 from 53 countries.

But only 20% of these are of Ukrainian origin, noted Nayyem urging members of the overflow audience, which numbered close to 150 people, to volunteer.

“Come to Ukraine and bring your knowledge of English,” he said.

Volunteers have to pay for their own transportation, but have their accommodation and food covered during their stay in Ukraine. The camps generally run for three weeks

Nechyporenko said the idea of GoCamp was to take children from ordinary Ukrainian schools and enroll them in free summer camps.

Even though the duration of the camps is limited, the volunteers help children break the language barrier and the cultural barrier.

“They do start to understand that the world is actually global and you have so many opportunities and you can reach them when you have the language when you have the tools,” she said adding if people can’t come on their own they can always help by paying the plane fare for someone who can.

“Please share the call with all of you community and your friends,” she said.

For more information about GoCamps see: gocamps.com.ua