Ukrainian school reopens thanks to UNICEF grant
Closed due to the ongoing war, one school in Ukraine has finally reopened its doors to students, thanks to a US$ 3,000 grant from UNICEF
A loud bell signals the start of school break and the corridors become filled with children's voices and laughter. Even amid blackouts and air raids, students at this school in Ukraine’s Lvivska region can at last return to the classroom, thanks to a grant from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) used to purchase a generator and computer equipment.
The US$ 3,000 grant provided to the secondary school in Velyki Mosty will ensure that children and teachers can stay warm, connect to the internet and keep the lights on during power outages and air raids.
“Our teachers can conduct lessons even during air raids because now we have a bomb shelter,” says Iryna Pahutiak, the head of the school. “We have equipped special classrooms in the school basement, so now our children have desks and chairs to sit at. With the funds provided by UNICEF, we have bought a generator, replaced lamps in the corridors and classrooms, and installed additional lighting in the shelter. Now, it is light and warm here, so we can keep working.”
With the outbreak of the full-scale war on 24 February 2022, the school in Velyki Mosty switched to distance learning. Last August, at a meeting of the teaching staff, the school decided to resume classes.
“In the first months of the full-scale war, it was psychologically difficult for both teachers and children,” says Pahutiak. “However, our team quickly rallied and got back to work. The advantages of full-time education are obvious. We can communicate more with our students and the rest of our team and better control the learning process. I also noticed a positive trend – recently, our students' level of knowledge has begun to grow.”
Thanks to UNICEF's financial assistance, the school has purchased wireless networking equipment, which enables the whole school to have access to uninterrupted, high-quality internet. It also allows teachers to conduct classes online, when necessary.
“Our school has a large assembly hall where we can hold classes thanks to additional internet distribution points,” explains Pahutiak. “The school has a student government system, so children will have a comfortable place to discuss and plan their activities. This is very valuable.”
In her office, Pahutiak proudly displays a Valentine’s Day card from the school's students.
“Our children's love and friendship inspire me to work. I always go to class with a smile and strive to make their learning interesting and comfortable. The support of international organizations, including UNICEF, helps me to realize my wildest dreams.”
The war in Ukraine threatens the education and future of Ukrainian children. Currently, around 5.3 million boys and girls face barriers to full-time education, including 3.6 million children directly affected by school closures. UNICEF has allocated nearly US$ 3.3 million to 1,087 schools, attended by more than 500,000 children. Funds are transferred directly to the institutions to cover immediate needs caused by the war.