NEW PROJECT IN UKRAINE
Close to 400,000 children live along the front line in Eastern Ukraine. Many have spent the past five years living with the distant sounds of artillery fire and bombing, in constant fear and reliant on humanitarian aid. FSD is preparing a new project to help improve access to quality education in these difficult circumstances.
FSD has been working in Ukraine since 2015, clearing explosive remnants of war and carrying out mine risk education sessions in schools and kindergartens. In four years, FSD has visited 98% of the schools situated along the front line. Close to 160,0000 children are now aware of how to keep safe if they encounter mines or unexploded ordnance.
While delivering these mine risk awareness sessions, FSD personnel have noticed the extent of the damage inflicted on school infrastructure and the devastating impact of the ongoing conflict on children’s access to education. The objective of FSD’s new project is to take advantage of the organization’s experience in Ukraine and of its expertise and network in the education sector to help all children receive the education they deserve, and benefit from the protective role schools can play in times of crisis.
Obstacles to education in southern Ukraine are manyfold. School infrastructure have suffered serious damage during the conflict. In many cases, sanitation facilities and canteens have been impacted and cannot be used any more by the children. Due to a lack of resources, equipment and textbooks are often outdated and basic school items are missing. Parents have mentioned having to collect money themselves to buy chairs as their children had nothing to sit on.
Transport to school is also affected by the war. Children walking to school sometimes have to listen to the noise of distant shooting to find out which road will be the safest. When school buses are available, they are often in bad condition; children regularly miss classes due to the breakdown of the bus.
War inevitably leads to decreased school attendance. Children and youth in fragile and conflict affected countries are 30 per cent less likely to complete primary education. These boys of Bilytske town should be at school. Instead, they are collecting pieces of scrap metal that they will try to exchange for money.
Adolescents at schools living in areas near the front line display greater inclination to political violence, higher normalization of bullying and reduced quality of life. Fear is also part of daily life. Below is Leonid Makarov, a 24-year-old teacher, with his 9th grade pupils in the school of Zalizne Vilage. Just as the students were finishing the school year, one of them, Dasha, was killed in a bombing.
FSD is raising funds to start this new project and help address these issues through rehabilitation of infrastructure and transportation, delivery of supplies, organization of cohesion activities and awareness sessions, as well referral of situations requiring psychosocial support to appropriate organizations.
To provide twelve months of operations in full scale would require approximately USD 400,000. FSD is approaching smaller and larger institutions to contribute to this project to the extent of their abilities.
Interested in supporting this project? Please contact us for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org