One of the sustainability indicators of any society is the health of children, teenagers and adolescents. A few health care lessons at school are not enough to ensure that schoolchildren learn what they need to know about their health and their bodies. Statistics make this harshly clear. In 2018, Latvia set a record in the number of syphilis cases among young people aged 18 to 29, which represented 31% (52 cases) of all registered syphilis cases in the country. In 2017, eight girls who were 14 or younger had abortions. That was one-half time more than in 2016, and there was also an increase in the number of pregnancies among girls who were between 15 and 17 years old. If young people had the necessary knowledge, these statistics would surely be less shocking.
25 years of history
For nearly 25 years, the Papardes Zieds organisation has been receiving phone calls asking for help. “Hello could you please visit our school and tell our 9th grade students about…” Or “We have pregnant girls in several classes, please come and talk to them.” This is an everyday issue for Papardes Zieds, and the calls from schools, boarding schools, trade schools and youth centres all over Latvia. This year we have organised 748 meetings in Latvia. We also work with parents. This year there have been 47 seminars for parents at Latvia’s school to talk about the sexual and reproductive health of children, as well as the issue of addictions. This is an area in which facts speak for themselves. We have every reason to be proud of our organisation. Young people who have taken part in our activities have very much appreciated the work that we do.
Another problem for Papardes Zieds is that last year, Latvia’s Parliament adopted amendments to the education law to say that all education in Latvia must be “moral.” The authors of this law did not bother to specify what “moral” education means, but in practice, a teacher in the 12th grade gave her students a poem to read in which a vulgar word was used entirely in context, and after a parent complained, the teacher was reprimanded. 12th grade students in Latvia are 18 and 19 years old, not small children. More to the point, however, calls from schools to Papardes Zieds are starting to dry up simply because teachers don’t know whether a conversation about birth control, for instance, would be “moral.” Such censorship and self-censorship in schools is not just regrettable, it is frankly dangerous, because it is precisely a lack of knowledge that leads to 12-year-old girls getting pregnant in Latvia. This, too, is a reason why we very much hope that you will be able to support us in our work.
Drop in financing
Papardes Zieds has traditionally financed its educational work with funding that comes from project competitions, as well as funding awarded to us because of the high quality of our work. These sources of financing, however, are disappearing, and we increasingly have to rely on ourselves. The risk is that we will lose people who are certainly our comrades. We do not want this targeted and invaluable work to wither away. It is far easier to stand on stable foundations than to start all over by trying to climb out of a ditch. Yes, we can wait for a critical moment and then stressfully rescue whatever we can. We would have to rescue our ability to be as active as we have always been in educating schoolchildren and preventing problems that should not exist in the first place. We would have to rescue our lack of knowledge about whether Papardes Zieds will be able to continue its work to educate young people in 2019, because our professional selfless team may start to fall apart. Everyone wants to be sure of his or her future.
Your support will help us to continue our work
If you become an active helper for us, such rescue will not be necessary. By providing support for Papardes Zieds today and undertaking to do so on a regular basis, our educators will have a clear sense of their future, and our organisation will continue is work with endless energy and increasingly valuable experience. Young people will welcome that.
Donate five or ten euros per month to Papardes Zieds, and help us to avoid the stress that we would feel if we had to reduce our stop or work. Only that which has permanent and strong support needs no rescue at all. Perhaps you traditionally donate money during the Christmas season? Why not start to help us to educate young people in December and then all year long. Become a contributor, and then tell others about the strength and purposefulness of Papardes Zieds, encouraging them to donate money or perhaps joining us as a member.
Your Papardes Zieds team
Organization’s Papardes zieds bank requisites:
Bank: A/S Swedbank
S.W.I.F.T.: HABA LV 22
Name: biedrība “Papardes zieds”
Registration number: 40008010971