Ukraine kindergarten builds bomb shelter with UNICEF support
Schools and kindergartens across Ukraine have received financial assistance from UNICEF and the Association of Ukrainian Cities
A kindergarten in Oleksandriya, Ukraine has become one of many educational institutions across the country to receive financial assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Association of Ukrainian Cities.
Thanks to the funds, kindergarten No. 39 has purchased hygiene kits, early childhood development kits and furniture for their bomb shelter.
The funding comes at a critical time, following a year of full-scale war, which has had a devastating impact on the lives and futures of Ukraine’s 5.7 million school-aged children, including on their education.
"The kindergarten staff set up the shelter on their own. They whitewashed the walls, repaired the floor, laid linoleum and purchased the necessary furniture. UNICEF financed the purchase of 39 chairs for the facility, as well as hygiene kits and early childhood development kits for children. From now on, the children can feel comfortable staying in the shelter, and can play, draw and sculpt here.”
Amid the ongoing war, Inna believes that socialization and communication are crucial for children. During air raids, a speech therapist and music teacher join the teaching staff to work with the 337 children who attend the facility.
"We also conduct educational and developmental classes, hold celebrations and musical events, which are all very important both in preparation for school and in dealing with such a difficult time, as a way to distract from all these worries and troubles,” says Inna. “Because children feel everything."
Five-year-old Iryna says her class goes down to the shelter as soon as they hear the air raid alarm.
"We play here, and most of all I love sculpting with modeling clay," she says.
"We like to draw and play with construction sets. And we come out when the alarm is over, and they give us a break.”
"We do everything in the form of a game,” says Inna. “The children are not worried, and they can already monitor the air raid alarms themselves. Everyone tries to get dressed and go down to the shelter as quickly as possible.”
Sadly, due to constant air raid sirens, the children visit the shelter almost every day. This means they need to feel comfortable as much as possible.
Now, thanks to the funds from UNICEF and the Association of Ukrainian Cities, what was a former vegetable store now has running water, heating and a television. During long air raids, the children can eat and sleep here.
UNICEF and partners are working hard to ensure access to learning in Ukraine.
Getting children back to learning is a critical step in restoring normalcy in their lives, after a year of war and years of COVID-19 disruptions.
UNICEF has provided recreation kits and early development kits to over 700,000 boys and girls across Ukraine since the beginning of the war thanks to financial support from Denmark, the EU, Italy, Japan, the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, as well as flexible funding from the Governments of Denmark, Iceland, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Serbia, alongside the UNICEF family of National Committees.
Inside Ukraine, UNICEF and partners have provided access to formal and non-formal education to more than 1.4 million children, and provided almost 300,000 children with psychosocial support and life skills education.