YOURAH was launched by IDF Europe in 2017. The network consists of alumni from IDF Europe Youth Leadership Camps (YLCs) and aims to empower youth to become active advocates within the diabetes communities in their countries and beyond, through exchanges and pan-regional initiatives and activities.
YOURAH’s vision is to be a European network of youth diabetes advocates working together towards a common goal – a better life with diabetes for all. Its mission is to have youth diabetes advocates within Europe that connect and develop resources (people, experiences, projects and connections) within the community (Youth Leadership Camp and beyond).
In 2020, YOURAH revised its operating framework, setting up a Steering Committee to drive the network.
Uroš Bogdanović (Serbia) was elected Steering Committee Coordinator, Katrine M. K. Hansen (Norway) Steering Committee Member External Relations and Elena Vakali (Greece) Steering Committee Member Projects.
Uroš is a 23-year old Master's student at the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. He has lived with type 1 diabetes for 10 years. As an advocate and Board member of the Diabetes Association of Serbia, he has coordinated the national diabetes leadership camp and organised and participated in numerous events related to diabetes prevention, education, and access to care. He is passionate about being a part of the international diabetes community. He sees his participation at the YLC in 2016 as a life-changing experience and has been involved in IDF Europe projects ever since, speaking at events such as IDF Europe Symposium at EASD and a World Diabetes Day debate at the European Parliament. He has been a member of YOURAH since 2017 and participated in several of its projects and webinars, such as EURmove. As the newly elected YOURAH Steering Committee Coordinator and the European Representative of the IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme, he aims to strengthen the relationship between young diabetes advocates in the region. Uroš, as Steering Committee Coordinator, will also sit as an observer on the IDF Europe Board.
Katrineis a 23-year old originally from Lofoten in the northern part of Norway. She currently lives in Oslo, where she is studying for a Master's degree in entrepreneurship and innovation. Katrine is also a deputy in the youth section of the Norwegian Diabetes Association, which works with people between 14 and 30 years of age. As a deputy, Katrine works with the Board on a variety of projects including a diabetes weekend, together with the Swedish Youth Diabetes Association, summer camps for youth and children, leadership training for other representatives in Norway and also a weekend for young people with type 2 diabetes. Katrine participated in the IDF Europe Youth Leadership Camp in 2019, where she learned about the realities of living with diabetes across Europe. She looks very much forward to being a part of the Steering Committee as she is keen to work for others outside of Norway in raising awareness of diabetes.
Elena lives in Athens, Greece. She has been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years. At the time of her diagnosis, she decided to become an endocrinologist. She studied at the Medical School of Athens and, where she also worked as a volunteer to raise awareness of diabetes. She was so passionate about helping people living with diabetes that when she finished her studies, she worked at a parapharmaceutical company as a doctor in charge of educating pharmacists about diabetes. While subsequently working in Stylida as a general practitioner, she formed a group of people living with type 1 diabetes with the aim of educating them. Two years later, she worked as an Internal Medicine doctor in the Hellenic Red Cross Hospital. During that time, she became very involved with the Panhellenic Federation of People with Diabetes. Elena participated in the YLC 2019, an experience that inspired her to want to make things better for people living with diabetes globally. She strongly believes that as part of the YOURAH Steering Committee, she can create projects and events that can really make a difference in the lives of people living with diabetes.
The Steering Committee meets monthly and drives YOURAH’s operations and projects. In 2020, key projects included the development of a Youth Leadership Lab, a platform designed to equip youth with leadership skills and nurture a new generation of diabetes advocates in Europe, an open letter to MEPs on International Youth Day, and a publication on travelling with diabetes. Another publication focusing on hypoglycaemia will be published in late 2020/early 2021.
The Steering Committee is also working on a development plan for the network for the next two years.