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Youth Support Program


Since the Russian-Ukrainian war started in February 2022, over 70.000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Switzerland. Refugees over the age of 16 years have no compulsory school attendance. They are hence particularly at risk of reduced access to education and professional opportunities.

In December 2022 workshop conducted with 25 Ukrainian refugee youth (15-20 year old from Basel Stadt, Basel Land, Jura, Aargau) has confirmed the assumption about following challenges in regards education, professional development and integration:

  • Difficulties in understanding the education system of Switzerland, lack of a complete vision of educational and professional offers available for youth with their status, insufficient understanding of their benefits.
  • Integration barriers: language barrier; uncertainty barrier that complicates the educational and professional choice – “where I will be tomorrow?”; emotional disengagement and disorientation – longing for home.
  • Lack of understanding of own talents and strengths for choosing a field of study and profession


Youth Support Program (YSP) targets Ukrainian youth between the ages of 15 to 20 in Basel area that need to continue their studies or choose their professional path in the current uncertain situation. A series of meet-the-expert sessions for 5 months will help 60+ young people to understand the educational system in Switzerland and how they fit into it. The program will help them concentrate on their strengths and motivate them to take considered next steps.

Phase 1:
program design and kick-off

  • Program design and validation with target audience and partners
  • Kick-off 2-day conference (program). Our experts and team support in developing of personal development plan and understanding of relevant educational, professional and integration offers

Phase 2:

  • 5 Workshops / activities on to develop relevant soft-skills, meetings with Swiss adult people and youth with various professional and education background
  • Mid-term peer-to-peer review of personal development plans

Phase 3:
closing and reflection

  • Closing day camp
  • Reflection and presentation on the progress of personal development plan, vision for the next steps
  • Closing party with engagement of Swiss youth to establish new connections and cultural exchange

Useful materials

Educational system of CH and input on learning German yourself – Jenya Lavicka & Olena Bolger (YSP co-leads)

Brückenangebot – Alexander Fretz, Zentrum für Brückenangebot Basel Stadt.

Lehre – Katharina Gisin, Berufsinformationszentrum Basel.

Wirtschaftsmittelschule and personal story of former student – Reto Neuhaus (Schulen KVBL) and Tim Thompson (Impact Hub Basel). Presentation. Video-recording.

Gymnasium – Fabio Wettstein, Freie Gymnasium  Basel.

Partners and supporters

We are very grateful for all the  incredible support we received from people and organizations since we got this program idea. Expert inputs, volunteer engagement, personal donations and funding.

  • Children UA
  • Dialog Stiftung
  • SpendenParlament
  • Inner Wheel Basel Wettstein
  • SGG
  • Otto Erich Heynau Stiftung
  • Evangelische Gemeinde Sissach
  • Brückenangebot Basel-Stadt
  • Berufsinformationszentrum Basel-Land
  • Schulen KVBL
  • Freie Gymnasium Basel

Financial support

We are still looking for additional funding to be able to conduct the program in fullest. We will be grateful for financial support from private persons and organizations.

Impressions video by Irina Medunetskaya

Any questions, ideas or other inputs for Jenya Lavichka or Olena Bolger? Send an email to [email protected] or [email protected].