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Continuous Education for Displaced Ukrainian Children

Written by Sasha Lisohor, Ukraine Programme Manager
The war has had devastating consequences on everyone in Ukraine. Air alarms, shelling and bombings are happening every day, causing death, injury, and disruptions to everyday life. Children are affected the most – they are scared, traumatised and left without security in their lives. 
 
Since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war, more than 2 million children have fled to neighbouring countries with their families seeking asylum and more than 3 million children have become internally displaced and unable to return home. 
 
Their education has significantly suffered – children all over the country left schools. Those who were lucky were able to connect to online lessons, but a huge amount of students could not do that. Even when children went back to schools in September, the bombing continued to disrupt lessons as everyone had to hide in shelters. Moreover, school buildings have limited to no access to electricity or heating.
 
Access to education is needed more than ever for displaced Ukrainian children.
 
The Breteau Foundation was among the first organisations who stepped up to support children’s education when the war began. Everyone on the team responded quickly with a programme of support, consisting of three major initiatives that would address short and long term educational needs for Ukrainian children.  
 
Providing displaced children with basic stationery items
The team quickly prepared stationery packs with colour pencils, chalks, colouring books, playdough and psychosocial education booklets. Working with partner organisations, the Breteau Foundation were able to distribute 6,000 stationery packs at  refugee centres, orphanages and educational centres.
 
Distributing academic booklets to support numeracy, literacy and creativity development
We adapted and translated our academic booklets from Gr. 2 – Gr. 5 to plug the gap in learning for children who were unable to access schooling online or in-person.  Schools in 6 Ukrainian regions received the booklets, making it possible for teachers to continue lessons even in the shelters. For Lidiia Minaieva, a third grade teacher in the schools, “booklets for 3rd graders have become important for their learning especially whilst in the shelter during the air alarms. Our students can still focus and develop their knowledge of mathematics despite what’s going on outside”. 
 
EdTech programme for schools
We are now running our flagship EdTech programme in three schools – two located directly in Ukraine and one in Bucharest (the educational hub for Ukrainian primary schools students). Two more schools have the educational apps from the best providers installed on their tablets. “I really like using tablets in our lessons because our teacher chooses very interesting tasks for us and it makes the lessons fascinating”, says Dania, a 5th grade student in the educational hub in Bucharest.
 
We are proud to say that in 2022, in less than a year, we were able to reach 26 799 Ukrainian children in the country and abroad. 700 teachers and parents benefited from our programmes and 26 schools have become our partners. 
 
We continue to be inspired by the strength of Ukrainian children, and are committed to providing them with our ongoing support. We have planned a range of new initiatives for 2023 and look forward to working with new partners so that we can help many more children access quality education.
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