Ukrainian schools join global effort to build brighter future

Students in Ukraine are taking part in a global initiative to build a greener future for everyone.

UNICEF
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UNICEF
22 July 2021

At a school in Mariupol, Ukraine, children are attaching brightly-coloured sticky notes to a globe that the teacher holds in her hands. On the notes are their wishes – “That the sea is clean,” “That everyone rides a bicycle,” and “That in my city, it is easy to breathe.”

The children are taking part in the World’s Largest Lesson, an initiative globally launched by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that offers creative tools for educators and a brighter future. Today's lesson, called ‘the Planet is My Home,’ focuses on the environment and climate change.

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UNICEF

“These wishes will become a reality, if every one of us will contribute and support the health of our planet,” says Olena Luhanchenko, the children’s teacher. “Then our trees will be green, the sea will be clean, and the fish in the sea will breed, not die.”

Through lessons, cartoons, and interactive examples, school children are taught about environmental culture, responsible consumption and ways to address climate change.

 

Inspired to make a change

Actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson explained the UN Global Goals to Ukrainian fifth graders on video.

“By 2030, we need to complete an urgent mission, and I need your help,” she said, appearing on a large interactive screen during the lesson. “We need to overcome inequality and extreme poverty, and learn to respect our planet.”

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UNICEF

Arina Pylypenko, 11, immediately sets about thinking of ways that children and adolescents can help to meet the UN Global Goals. The youngster rides her bicycle to school, sorts garbage and collects waste paper. But after today’s lesson, she feels inspired to think bigger.

“I was inspired by the story of the sisters from Bali who cleaned the beaches of plastic,” she says. “And the governor noticed them and forbade plastic bags. Not every adult is capable of this. I thought about what I could do.”

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UNICEF

Building a brighter future

Teachers at Mariupol School #15 strive to make school life as environmentally-friendly as possible. Students plant trees, sort garbage and are looking forward to using a brand new bicycle parking lot. And after the World’s Largest Lesson, students are thinking up eco initiatives of their own.

Teacher Olena Luhanchenko has already received a request from her fifth grade students for a new community day to plant seedlings in the city.

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UNICEF

“The eco movement is getting younger because this generation has more information and access to it,” says Olena. “For example, a lesson on Earth Day in this unusual and modern format can give children motivation and certainty in positive change. I saw that the children were listening with their eyes open wide.”

Olena learned about the UNICEF initiative on the Ed-era Ukrainian Learning Platform, where users can download videos and an outline of the World’s Largest Lesson.

 

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UNICEF

Of the 4,150 Ukrainian educational institutions that conducted the lesson, 50 won a set of materials to set up an air quality monitoring station from UNICEF. Mariupol School #15 was among them. With this simple device, the students will be able to contribute to the collection of air quality data in their city for Saveecobot, the only environmental chatbot in Ukraine that combines data on pollution, pollutants and environmental protection tools.

The children are now looking forward to a brighter future – and the teachers, too.

“I am happy to realize that the things that are close to my soul – having more happy people in the world, having no wars and environmental disasters – are now important to my students,” concludes Olena, happily.

 

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