Romani youth from Czech Republic receiving the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award
"I would primarily like to be a role model for others who grow up in children's homes," says 19-year-old Lukáš Kotlár, who will be receiving the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award at the end of the school year. Part of the award is the Duke of Edinburgh's education program, which has supported young people from all parts of society since 1956 in dozens of countries worldwide on the way to their future employment, independence, self-awareness and social sensitivity.
Kotlár is working as a project coordinator and ambassador, primarily for children's homes. The award endeavors to show its young recipients that they have achieved something in life, that someone appreciates them, and that they should take it as motivation to work on themselves further.
"All of this is on the basis of voluntarism - the participants must want it themseves. They must meet the challenge, experience the adventure and be creative, independent team players," Kotlár told news server Romea.cz.
"Thanks to the Duke of Edinburgh I have gotten to meet Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the British Ambassador, and Dan Přibáň, a explorer who has undertaken famous expeditions with Trabants and with whom I completed an expedition in Romania. Now I will do my best to expand the program in the Czech Republic, specifically in children's homes," Kotlár said.
Approximately 1 000 youth from the Czech Republic are now involved in the program, whether from children's homes, where several children have won the award, as well as from grammar schools and prestigious primary schools. Those participating must meet criteria in four areas - adventurous journey, physical recreation, service and skills - at one of three levels, bronze, silver or gold.
Participants set a certain goal for themselves in each area and do their best to win prizes by achieving their aims. "I greatly appreciate this award. It gives my activities much more meaning and I am glad that someone appreciates what I am doing for others - but primarily what I am doing for myself," Kotlár said.
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