The Tulsun Foundation is a Kyiv-based charity with Netherlands backing that seeks to provide disadvantaged Ukrainian kids with the skills and vision to build a better future for themselves. The name “Tulsun” is a combination of tulip and sunflower, the distinctive signature flowers of the Netherlands and Ukraine. This floral theme is particularly appropriate as officials at the Tulsun Foundation say their aim is to help Ukrainian orphans and children from troubled family backgrounds blossom professionally as they enter adulthood.
The Tulsun Foundation was launched in September 2016 as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of ControlPay, an international freight audit company based in Kyiv and owned by Dutchman Karel Kinds. ControlPay remains the main sponsor of the Foundation, while Mr. Kinds combines his role as CEO of the freight audit company with the position of Chairman at the Tulsun Foundation. This CSR engagement in Ukraine reflects Mr. Kinds’ ongoing commitment to the development of the country, which also saw him take on an active role in support of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement during the campaigning ahead of the spring 2016 referendum on the subject in the Netherlands.
The Tulsun Foundation is involved in a diverse range of activities designed to improve the lives of Kyiv region children growing up as orphans or temporarily removed from troubled family environments. This includes a “Ready for School” project to kit kids out with all the necessary uniforms and equipment at the start of each academic year, along with a similar initiative to prepare children for the winter season with new clothing. Meanwhile, the “Saint Mykola” New Year holiday project sees Tulsun Foundation activists and representatives from numerous participating partner companies responding to individual festive season gift requests from over three hundred disadvantaged kids. Each summer the Tulsun team organizes sporting event fundraisers such as the coming Kyiv golf tournament, while also hosting interactive sports master classes. In summer 2017, the Foundation welcomed members of the Netherlands national female volleyball team to Ukraine for four days of volleyball master classes that provided disadvantaged children with valuable insights into the dedication and drive required to achieve a breakthrough in the international sporting arena. More Netherlands female volleyball stars are now set to visit Kyiv in summer 2018 to build on the success of last year’s inaugural event.
The Foundation’s flagship initiative is entitled “My Future Profession”. Launched in April 2017, it aims to provide Kyiv region kids with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of different professions and then receive targeted support and training to help them prepare for possible future careers in their chosen fields. “Kids growing up in orphanages are often cut off from the wider world and do not know a lot about the range of career options open to them. It can be very difficult for them to adapt to adult life after growing up in an institutionalized environment. We aim to show them that the world is a big place full of different opportunities and help them to identify tangible career goals,” says Tulsun Foundation CEO Olga Rudych.
Children are able to spend to time gaining work experience at a number of participating Kyiv region businesses including everything from IT and logistics companies to hotel chains. The next stage of the process involves conversations with the kids and evaluations with psychologists to identify the most suitable career directions for each individual. Coupled with their own experience in genuine working environments, this helps the kids to form a vision of how they would like to see their career trajectory evolving. The Tulsun Foundation then offers them training and professional development opportunities tailored to enhance their particular interests and skillsets, with plans underway to add an additional layer of practical support at the job hunting and recruitment stage. “The key element to the entire project is the child’s desire to pursue a career that is right for them. Our goal is to work with kids to identify what they want to do in their professional lives and then to help them achieve their goals,” says Ms. Rudych.
The “My Future Profession” project depends on the involvement of partner companies and is open to new expressions of interest from any Kyiv region businesses that would like to get involved. Ms. Rudych stresses that the level of participation, including the number of children any potential participating company can take on and the period of work experience they can offer, are flexible and subject to a tailored approach to suit the circumstances of each individual company. Likewise, the Tulsun Foundation handles all the administrative processes, logistical issues and sundry costs of bringing children to workplaces to gain professional experience. “Companies do not need to invest any money in order to participate. They need only invest their time and their energy,” says Ms. Rudych. “Businesses should bear in mind that their participation in their initiative can genuinely change lives and open up entirely new horizons for children who might otherwise not be able to realize their full potential.”
Tulsun Foundation Contact Information
Companies wishing to participate in the “My Future Profession” initiative by offering work experience to disadvantaged Kyiv kids should contract the foundation directly.