Bullet holes in classroom windows, perilous school bus journeys, bomb shelters in basements, and unexploded ordinance in school yards are all now commonplace in eastern Ukraine.
After four years of conflict, more than 400,000 girls and boys continue to live and go to school on the frontline. The psychological toll of the fighting – from sleepless nights due to the sound of incessant shelling, to the stress of knowing school buildings and buses are in the line of fire – has been devastating.
Meet the children trying to go to school, just like children everywhere – and the far from normal circumstances they are growing up under.
(Above) Masha, 11, and her brother Yura, 9, are just like any other children.
They live with their mother, father and little brother in the town of Novotoshkivske in eastern Ukraine. Yura’s favourite classes are English and computer studies, and he likes playing hide and seek in the park and collecting chestnuts. Masha prefers maths and reading. She wants to be a singer when she grows up.