Alumna Mariia Tyshchenko: “It never would have happened without these people”

Ukrainian Mariia Tyshchenko came to Sweden in 2015 to study through SI Academy for Young Professionals (SAYP). She recounts that she was fascinated with sustainability and was googling educational opportunities when she found the programme Sustainable Public Management at Malmö university.
SAYP-alumni Mariia Tyshchenko

– It was a really amazing programme with amazing lectures. I still cooperate with my teachers in my work with my organisation Poruch and my humanitarian projects, and with almost all the people who were on that programme as well.

How are you using the competences you gained during the SAYP-programme in your work?

– Actually through direct influence, because all of our activities are based on sustainable development goals; I work for gender equality, accessibility, and for peace building. So there’s this theme throughout all of our activities, and during all this time I’ve passed on the knowledge to my teams.

This year the Swedish Institute is increasing its focus on SDG16 and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. What does the concept inclusive societies mean to you?

– During my visit to Sweden I saw so many examples of accessibility, and I wanted to do change in my country. That’s why we organized a fashion show on wheelchairs in Kyiv and Kharkiv. It’s very important to be equal in society and to feel comfortable, that’s why we continue our school of peace and teach nonviolent communication, mediation, transformation – because this is the basis of conflict and inequality and through teaching this we can avoid conflict.

You were recently awarded with an honorary doctorate by Malmö university for your work towards a better world. What do you think this says about your work?

– You know, I don’t think it’s my work, I really don’t think so. It’s important that this is recognized as the work of my teachers at Malmö university, the people who selected me for this project, the people who finance our projects. It’s much more about teamwork. These people took part in this transformation period in our country. Yes, I’m probably a driving force, but it would never have happened without these people.

What are your plans for the future?

– Since the war started, the only thing I want is just peace in my country, that’s all. I work hard to get peace in my country and we plan only one thing; to build up our country better. That’s all I plan. Of course, we are working; we work on building schools, we work in humanitarian support. Right now, I have a training programme working on how to work with traumatic experiences for children in Lutsk. We have an amazing country and we have amazing working, societal institutions – we just need to end this aggression we’re facing.

Anything else you would like to share?

– My teacher at Malmö university said: show the way. It’s very important to have such examples in life that you would like to follow. For me this programme is about showing an example of a person of whom you’d like to follow, and I hope I am that person for someone else.