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Prioritizing Education in the Humanitarian Response for Ukrainian Children

The Breteau Foundation stands with Ukraine and we are committed to making sure that no child is getting left behind. Whilst food, shelter, clothing and hygiene are key priorities for the humanitarian response, we too recognize that education is being missed for some of the more disadvantaged Ukrainian families and children who may not have access to a device for remote learning or who are waiting to be placed in a Polish school. There is also a high need for Ukrainian literature for many children who do not have Polish as an additional language. With these needs and growing educational gaps, we must respond and prioritize education for many Ukrainian children who are currently in limbo and who may continue missing months of learning.

In the short-term to plug the immediate learning gap, our team has packed and distributed 3,000 academic packs along the Poland-Ukrainian border with stationery essentials, playdough and accompanying educational booklets translated into Ukrainian languages and activities. These booklets were adapted from our COVID-19 syllabus for distance learning, which drew from the Playdough Curriculum: a variety of numeracy, literacy, and creativity activities designed to be multi-level for primary school children. In addition, we provided strength and resilience based activities that contribute to social-emotional learning and resilience development. Especially now, emotional and social development is crucial for children to process and express their feelings and develop their behavioral responses in a turbulent environment.

Amongst many great partners in Poland, we have had the privilege of working with Global Empowerment Mission, a global humanitarian response NGO who are currently working across 28 Ukrainian cities and who have helped 26, 154 Ukrainian families relocate their lives in Poland. GEM received 990 educational packs from the Breteau Foundation which are currently being sent to multiple towns and schools still operating across Ukraine. With 170 trucks of aid operating inside Ukraine, we are honored to help them in their mission. In addition to our first response with 3000 academic packs, we are developing interim and longer term solutions with other NGOs like Happy Kids Foundation. Happy Kids Foundation supports children in foster care centers across Poland and has received many orphaned Ukrainian children since the war began in late February. In the coming weeks and months, we will be working closely with the Foundation to distribute and facilitate additional Ukrainian numeracy and literacy activities and booklets for primary school aged children.
Since we have begun developing our education response for Ukrainian children, we continue to encounter so many generous and committed individuals and organizations who are selflessly contributing to aid efforts. From staff to volunteers, to families and children, we are privileged and humbled by a strong community response for the Ukrainian crisis. The Breteau Foundation will continue to observe the developments of this war and is prepared to develop its response accordingly. As aid efforts begin to plateau, now more than ever is the time to remain committed to supporting disenfranchised families and children with a sustainable and long-term response.
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