Dear friends and supporters,
today we would like to share with you success stories of young people in Lithuania. These young adults have one thing in common: they found their educational path with the help of the PATRIA program and pursued it consistently. And her praise is, “Without PATRIA’s support, I never would have achieved my goals.” Aleksandras would never have become a branch manager, Svetlana would not have a driver’s license…. Take the opportunity to meet these and other young Lithuanians in person during the September 6-9, 2023 trip! Our board team would be very pleased to have your travel companions. More info – see below in the newsletter.
PATRIA had invited some “alumni” (alumni) to attend the PATRIA Camp in September 2022. They told about their career and answered the questions of the camp group. Otmar Debald and Jurate Bogacz took the opportunity to document the testimony of several alumni. Read here the touching statements of these young Lithuanians, who are all very grateful for the support they received from the PATRIA program. These stories encourage our board team and the local PATRIA organization to continue with our educational support for young people who do not receive such support from their parents.
Aleksandras: “Without hard work, without motivation, but also without communication, you can’t achieve ambitious goals.”
Aleksandras works as a branch manager at Bite Lietuva, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Lithuania.
Question from a participant: what would you advise us to do to achieve our goals?
“You have to take the first step yourself. You have to step out of your comfort zone. I am very grateful to Inga from PATRIA. She saw the mistakes I made in the beginning and challenged me. It also helped me to hear other stories, other experiences in the PATRIA network. I can also talk about my private life at PATRIA. That is very important to me. I learned a phrase from Inga that I also tell my friends and co-workers: “I can give you advice, but in the end, you have to make the decision about what to do yourself.”
We have known Aleksandras for 6 years now. He has had a wonderful development. He comes across as a rock, with a lot of self-confidence and a positive aura. At work, he now bears responsibility for several employees. One senses that he is aware of the responsibility and would also like to pass on his experience.
Akvilé: “Your support and expectation were very important for me to successfully complete my studies.”
Akvile graduated in the summer of 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration (marketing and communications).
“You (Otmar and Jurate) helped me a lot last year by clearly stating your expectation that I have to finish my studies after my sabbatical and until then without an idea for a topic for the bachelor thesis. You gave me some ideas for my bachelor thesis and offered to support me with talks and advice about the bachelor thesis as well. I promised you at that time that I would tackle the bachelor thesis and finish my studies. Keeping this promise was very important for me. I didn’t want to disappoint you because you did so much for me and believed in me… and now I am very happy that I made it.”
Delianas: “I have received the PATRIA scholarship for four years and I am very grateful for it.”
Delianas is highly talented and successfully completed his master’s degree in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences this year and has now started writing his doctoral thesis. He sees his professional future in science and research.
Otmar asked Delianas: Most of the participants tonight don’t really understand what you’re doing. I don’t really either…you’ll find few here to talk to about it. Still, you keep coming back to our camps. You are a great asset and inspiration to others.
What does it mean to you to be part of this PATRIA network? What does it mean to you to come to our camps?
“I have received the PATRIA scholarship four years and I am very grateful for it. I come here also to express my gratitude to you. I am not a person with wide social contacts, I sometimes also find it difficult to be among many people. I like to come here. I also hear stories here that inspire me. Stories that spur me on. How other young people are also learning to find their own way.”
Svetlana: “Thanks to PATRIA, I now have a driver’s license.”
What does the monthly stipend (50 €) mean for you?“The PATRIA scholarship really helped me plan better and think about what I need, what’s really important to me. I used it to finance my driver’s license. That was my big goal, which I have now achieved. I can now drive to the Baltic Sea on my own. This freedom means a lot to me.”
Ema: “Without PATRIA, I wouldn’t have started college and I wouldn’t have been top of my class after my freshman year.”
How was your path to PATRIA?” I had to repeat the 6th grade. Had a phase where I didn’t do anything for school. I gave up just before graduating from high school, worked for a few years without training, and then went to night school to get my high school diploma. Then worked in the restaurant business again. Then came Corona. I did not know what to do next. I got a chance to move into assisted living and that’s how I got in touch with PATRIA. My counselor at PATRIA convinced me that I should study. I applied for and received the increased PATRIA scholarship last year. Now I have studied for one year and finished the first year at the top of my class. I would like to intern in Human Resources in the fall and later work in HR.”
Ema has taken an important role throughout the camp. She encouraged others, especially younger and more reserved participants, to actively participate or speak with us. Although she is still in the program herself, she already acts like a coach or mentor. For participants who do not speak English well, she then also translated for us.
From September 6 to 9, 2023, our board team will travel to Lithuania again – travel with us! – and get to know these capable, positive-minded young adults in the PATRIA program in person. The young people enjoy the exchange with their life-experienced German sponsors. For information about the trip, call Ingrid Debald at 069/743 09 064.
We hope that we could touch you with the stories of Aleksandras, Akvile, Delianas, Svetlana and Ema and at the same time give you an impression of the work of the PATRIA team.
In heartfelt solidarity
Yours Ingrid and Otmar Debald and team
of “Children and Youth Development in Lithuania e.V.”.
And here is a final message: refugees from Ukraine have been living in the empty houses of our children’s village in Marijampole for some time now, thus filling the children’s village with new life. As we have experienced, the cooperation works well and our Children’s Village family in House 1 celebrated Christmas harmoniously with the Ukrainians. There are currently 70,000 refugees from Ukraine living in Lithuania, which is 2.5% of the population (for comparison, there are about 1 million Ukrainian refugees living in Germany, which is 1.3% of the population).