Recently, EMpower’s Chair of the Joint Executive Committee Jeremy Llewelyn, his wife, and two friends visited a very busy St Petersburg during the White Nights Festival. While they were there, they took the opportunity to meet two of EMpower’s amazing grantee partners that are based in the city.
Jeremy tells about his experience: “First we met with Professor Maia Rusakova , a co-founder of Galaxy, a local NGO that focuses on preventing sexual exploitation of young people across North West Russia. EMpower has supported Galaxy’s programs for 5 years during which time they have achieved an outstanding reputation for thought leadership in this difficult area, as well as building effective collaboration with local authorities on resolution, prevention and policy development against trafficking regionally.
Later we visited the offices of the Raoul Foundation, an EMpower partner since 2018, to meet co-founder Mikhail Krivonos, Ilya Smetanin, other key members of staff and a large number of youth involved in their program. Raoul aims to support people who have grown up in care, many of who have disabilities, complete the transition to independent life and secure employment. The youth on the program shared their life stories and the critical steps they are now taking, with the support and guidance of the team at Raoul, into employment and independent living. The sense of direction, excitement and potential was tangible within everyone we met.
It was a real privilege to see first-hand the impact that both these EMpower partners are having in rebuilding confidence and purpose in youth in some of the most challenging circumstances in Russian society. Well done to the EMpower team for finding such great opportunities through which we can all make an important difference.”
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