Interview: Veronika Kašáková and her inspirational project Restart have merged with the C&A brand

Source: Veronika Kašáková Endowment Fund

C&A perceives women who not only have a great style, but their work or mission is especially important and beneficial. He tries to improve the lives of other women, to support them, to give them a sense of self-confidence, to pass something on to them. Veronika Kašáková, the founder of the Veronika Kašáková Endowment Fund, who supports C&A through the Cofra Foundation, represents all this for C&A, and she greatly appreciates her work and her entire team. One of the Endowment Fund’s programs is the Restart project, which helps young people from children’s homes to stand on their own two feet.

Source: Veronika Kašáková Endowment Fund

What was the initial impetus for creating the Restart program just to help young people stand on their own two feet?

It was based on two years of driving to orphanages, where I personally had the New Start project ready. I told my story there and I was leaving the orphanage. I mainly described my falls, because those first five years were quite challenging for me personally. After those two years, I realized that this is just such a short-term inspiration for the young people, so I thought we had to go deeper and try to help them stabilize, offer them support and closeness in this often unfavorable situation in which they are themselves. This is how the Restart project was created.

Have you ever felt that you need the help that Restart offers? For example, have you ever had your own guide?

Yes, it came to me naturally, it didn’t go through any organization or project. I had great confidence in a man who was coincidentally a relative of mine. He searched for me based on an article in the newspaper. From this I took inspiration for the project, because this one quality relationship helped me in the beginning. It is important that there is trust and sympathy in the relationship with the guide. That is why our Restart project starts in the period before leaving the children’s home. I want the two to always get to know each other and decide whether to confide in them and continue to work together after they leave home.

Source: Veronika Kašáková Endowment Fund

How important are the guides for the children from the children’s home, who will soon leave its gates?

The Restart project works in such a way that today we already have around thirty competent people, people from the field – from institutional care, psychology, they are various coaches who have taken courses. These guides then enter into a relationship with the person who is leaving the children’s home and is still in contact. This is important because the moment the door closes behind you and the home is no longer home, the young person will actually lose his home for the second time in his life. So it is very nice that he is left with someone whom they trust and who is known to him. At the same time, we remain informed about how the children are doing, which is not common – under normal circumstances, the state is informed about ten percent of children who have left home.

Have you ever encountered prejudice against your person because of where you come from? Did it boost your confidence?

I have to say that when I was little and then in high school, I have no memories of being bullied or uncomfortable. On the contrary, I always felt good and people wanted to help and make the situation easier for us. They often thought we had nothing to eat or that we didn’t have toys. This was interesting to observe, because in fact we had a lot, often more than in normal families. On the other hand, there was no room in the children’s home to build self-confidence and potential, I always struggled with everything on my own, and this undermined my self-confidence several times.

Source: Veronika Kašáková Endowment Fund

Does your program target more women and girls, or does it focus on young men and boys?

Our program is voluntary and for everyone. It all depends on how they decide, we have the door open for all young people before leaving the orphanage.

Do you benefit from your own experience when creating programs like Restart?

Yes, for sure, but it’s far from just that. I have been from the children’s home for almost 13 years and during that time I benefit not only from the experience of the girl from the children’s home, but also from the girl who experienced the departure. I also benefit from the experience of the endowment sector, the organization and meeting of young people from children’s homes. We also benefit from questionnaires, where we found out in children’s homes how a young person feels today and based on that we compiled the whole project. We also cooperated with educators and directors of children’s homes.

What experiences of your life are you trying to pass on to young people? What is important to pass on to them into adult life?

You know, the experience is inextricable, although during my lecture I try to pass on a genuine and authentic experience without any embellishments. This is an ace up my sleeve for me and the children, they enjoy it and listen. I try to show them the way not only by how I live, but also to give them our guide who is competent. All they can do is do their own thing, but I want to give them that good friend and a good relationship.

You are a great role model for girls. Do you also personally participate in some parts of the program? Are you building a relationship with your children?

From the beginning, I was personally everywhere, first we had a meeting together and then I handed them over to the guides, it was a lot about personal contact, but as the project expanded and the number of young people filled, it was no longer within my means. I am no longer everywhere, but once a year I make such a round and I visit them all and ask how they are. In any case, the pandemic interrupted our vision, when we wanted to have a meeting every year where we would all be and I would prepare a program. But my main job is to protect the entire production and communication with children’s homes. I also continue to work on the New Start project and motivate young people to sign up for Restart and be under our wings.

You have the opportunity to compare yourself when you leave the orphanage and the girls. Do you see any differences between you at the time and them today?

Paradoxically, I see huge differences. There are ready-made women sitting next to me who have their visions and dreams and they are actually such a miracle for me, because I didn’t know what I wanted in their years, I couldn’t know my feelings, I was still a child. From girls, I feel that they have the wisdom of the world in me and I am extremely proud of them, they are strong personalities and they have a solid core in them and the fact that I can be at least partially on their journey through life is an honor for me.

Source: Veronika Kašáková Endowment Fund

In today’s difficult times, there is a lot of talk about helping refugees, especially children from Ukraine. Will the Endowment Fund be involved in this area in any way?

We are trying to engage de facto by almost one hundred percent, because now the attention has turned to war refugees and specifically to children from children’s homes and orphanages in Ukraine. Today, there are 600 orphans who have lost their families and are waiting in Lviv, and we are working intensively to transport them here and take care of them. But it’s a long-distance run.

How important is the connection between C&A fashion and your inspirational project for you?

It’s very important to me and I appreciate it immensely. I enjoy hiring as a model and my package of three wishes in one has come true – it has support, fashion and I can pose in front of the camera. I really enjoy it, everyone is very nice and they support us not only financially and I appreciate it very much. I’m also happy for the girls I take photos with. If I have a hat, I’ll take it off. Thank you C&A on my behalf!

Source: MODA.CZ – Pánská móda, dámská móda a vše ze světa módy by

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