GRANT #350:

Vpershe

06/10/2019
Teens Want “The Facts Of Life” But Nobody Will Tell Them In The Only Language They Understand

If you’ve got access to the internet, you can learn all about everything, right?

Wrong.

What if your country’s culture kept everyone in the dark about how human bodies work?

There are many countries where there’s no sex education in schools, the topics of sex and sexuality are never discussed at home, and ignorance has devastating consequences for people.

You’d think that curious teens (and adults) could just go online and search for information, but in Ukraine, that’s not possible for the many who only speak Ukrainian.

Enter a trio of bold educators putting surprisingly frank information (in Ukrainian) on their website http://vpershe.com. Vpershe means “for the first time,” like hearing new information.*

Cofounders Yuliya Kovalchuk (the scientist), Katya Myachina (the journalist), and Liza Panchenko (the digital specialist) are concerned about Ukraine’s rates of HIV/AIDS, STDs, unwanted teen pregnancies, and prejudices against people who identify as LGBTQ.

Their online platform strives for inclusion, accuracy, and ease of understanding on the tricky topics of sex and sexuality. (If you hit the “translate” option on their website you’ll see for yourself!)

Vpershe.com might be “the first time” Ukrainians see such candid talk about sex, gender issues, feminism, consent, sexual ethics, preventing rape and other abuse, sexual health, bullying, slut-shaming, and so much more information that people who speak other languages can readily find on the internet.

The founders want to be the online resource for those who only speak Ukrainian to learn of the unspeakable, like being gay in the army, or asking an embarrassing question of a medical professional. Live discussion groups in various cities bring people together offline, with Vpershe providing free information on contraception as well as on-site testing for STIs and HIV.

If it’s hard to talk about sex in Ukraine, it’s harder to raise money to talk about sex in the Ukraine. We’re proud to give this grant and we hope others will help it go forth and multiply.

Follow along with Vpershe on Facebook and Instagram.