UMIRA: I Am with You, You Are with Me
Irina Vorobyova about links between generations and unconditional love
Women are keepers of the hearth uniting close people around them, building relations between generations, and contributing to creation of warm and friendly relations among people. They are always calling for cooperation and constructive engagement. Irina Vorobyova fully shares those values. Today she heads UMIRA, the community that has united socially active women striving to contribute to the development of the world and create a better future for their children.
Irina Vorobyova - CEO of UMIRA regional public organisation (Russia)
Ludmila Stangl - International expert in women’s entrepreneurship, co-founder of UMIRA public organisation, founder and owner of EMW Filtertechnik and GT Service (Germany)
Irina has obtained two higher educations: in Linguistics and Economy. She achieved great success in her career dealing with marketing in a big international company. However, after her children were born, she decided to devote herself to public activity and support of significant social projects. “Work is not only money. When my children were born I understood that I cared in what world they would live. I sincerely wanted to contribute to making the environment better. I wanted that everything I created would have a good influence on our society”, recalls Irina.
Together with her like-minders, she created first a community and then a public organisation UMIRA, which is a provider of social women’s initiatives. The organisation unites several hundred women striving to influence the world they live in and develop the civil society.
The phrase ‘I am with you, you are with me’ became the first tagline of the organisation. Those are words about supporting one another and combining efforts, interests, intentions, and opportunities. Today UMIRA says: “We are together!”
The participants of community share their experience and ideas of projects. UMIRA’s goal is to build an effective communication among them, combine initiatives that could be useful for one another, and support those who need it. There is no competition in the community because all the participants complete one another and create monolithic useful projects, in which everyone has their roles when realising their initiatives. By that moment, UMIRA realises several social projects. Women as mothers understand well that future of the world depends on what people would children become. The coming generation is a vanguard, source of fresh energy, and pillar of everything new and developing. That is a generation lightning the way forward to the future. Such a metaphor on the basis of one of the organisation’s key projects. Lantern is a vocational guidance project for older adolescents. The project’s goal is to provide the young generation with an opportunity to obtain knowledge and professional experience check themselves at the real projects. That is a vocational guidance through teaching and internship and opportunity for them to find their interests, get a clear vision of future profession, and avoid mistakes.
The participants of the community, women from different spheres of activity, conduct workshops and vocational guidance lectures for teenagers. Today, the project is in offline mode but Irina wants to transfer it at online platform. That will allow attracting young people from not only Moscow but the whole country.
Many children showed the desire to participate in social projects. Thus, the second project named ‘Taste of Life. Connection of Generations’ has been created on the basis of UMIRA. One of the participants of community became its inspirer and initiator.
“Our life is a living in three generations. As children, we watch the interrelation between parents and grandparents and learn from them. As adults, we build communication with parents and children, and when we are grandparents we communicate with children and grandchildren as well as observe their lives.
Those traditional bonds guarantee sustainability and development of our society. Until the end of the last century, there was enough intergenerational continuum for full realisation of a person and joyful feeling of life.
Modern world rapidly moves towards globalisation and standardisation as well as concentration on personal happiness of people. We live and develop the humanistic society. It is necessary to have social flexibility as well as skills and experience of building an effective emotional connection with as much different people as possible to realise yourself in that society and be integrated into it. It was important for us to build an emotional connection between the youth and the old and unite them on the basis of common interests such as creativity, support, and help with the help of the project. Positive contact appearing between an old and a young person leads to creation of emotional connection, which is further developing into a deep feeling of love, respect, and validity of that person in our life”, explains Irina Vorobyova.
“Realisation of that programme is an important goal for us now. By achieving it, we want to contribute to creation of society with true human values: mercy and justice”.
The Building of the Veterans of Stage named after A. Yablochkina is the main partner of the project. 18 volunteers expressed their will to become the participants of the project. Considering the fact that only 90 people live in the Veteran’s Building, that number exceeded any expectations. Irina noted that the common number of volunteers in state budget enterprises is usually 15 people out of 300. Schoolchildren and students not only bring the old positive emotions and use but also develop their professional skills and form their portfolio. Some adolescents interview the veterans of stage, prepare articles, and publish them in the Pioneer’s Truth newspaper, which is also a partner of the project. Some volunteers underwent special training in the sphere of design layout to make photo books of high quality from old photos for the old people. The field of improving computer literacy is very popular. The teenagers teach the old to use internet, social networks and modern gadgets. Joint shooting of video clips named Parables by Masters of Word is another direction of the project. The young shoot on camera how the old people of art read extracts from their favourite works and share wise pieces of advice with the growing generation.
As a result, there are interesting stories that you watch with pleasure many times. The graduates from McGuffin Film School for Teens also supported the project. They shot a movie about life in the Building of the Veterans of Stage named after A. Yablochkina.
The Taste of Life. Connection of Generations project has been being realised for 9 months already. It brings joy and use for the youth as well as the old. It was planned that the volunteers would visit the Building of Veterans once in two weeks but children were coming every Sunday because their ‘wards’ had become their friends, grandparents, and teachers. Moreover, the volunteers took the initiative of teaching their younger colleagues and sharing their experience of participating in the project, and preparing new volunteers. “Now we are planning to strengthen our successful experience and start realising the project in other enterprises. It turned out, we were the first who had developed such a voluntary movement”, shares Irina Vorobyova.
“It is important for us that the adolescents not only gain certain skills and undergo the social formation but also are the active citizens from childhood and the most important thing is that they ‘turn on’ their hearts. You can’t be a happy person and realise your potential without that”, thinks Irina. She is sure that we need to learn the unconditional love towards the whole world today. It is also important that every person finds their place in life and gets sincere joy from what they do. “If you can sincerely love and know how you can help people around, you will receive much more than give”, concluded Irina Vorobyova.
Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Yan Zarubin