On the occasion of Children’s Day, the Kyiv School of Economics hosted a presentation of “a hut on a hill”, in which schoolchildren from a de-occupied village in Kharkiv region studied. The art object called “ZAKHYSTOK: Safe Education” aims to show the world the difficulties and challenges Ukrainian children face because of the war – and how they overcome them, no matter what.
Enemy strikes on critical infrastructure left schoolchildren in front-line villages without the opportunity to continue their studies. Then students of the village of Gontarivka, in search of connection, climbed a hill 150 meters from the school – the only place where they could get Internet reception. From materials at hand, they built the shelter on top of the hill, where they spent school days last year. Now this shelter was presented at the Kyiv School of Economics as a symbol of the indomitability of Ukrainian children and the victorious power of education.
The event began with a moment of silence in memory of the children who died in Kyiv during the night Russian shelling.
The presentation was attended by the president of the Kyiv School of Economics Tymofiy Mylovanov, the president of Estonia Alar Karis, the Canadian ambassador Larysa Galadza, the director of the KSE Foundation Svitlana Denysenko, art curator Volodymyr Kadyhrob, the director of the school, representatives of Ukrainian businesses who participated in the arrangement of shelters in Ukrainian schools.
“Today, we have a very clear problem – if a school does not have a shelter, it cannot return children to offline classes. There are thousands of such schools in Ukraine that do not have a storage facility. Thanks to the KSE Foundation, shelters have already been set up in 27 schools, 120 schools are now in operation. We managed to return 9 thousands children to the educational process in school premises. This became possible thanks to your donations. In particular, thanks to the contribution of Raiffeisen Bank in the amount of 1 million dollars. Also, Dragon Capital, which provided 42 thousand dollars, FUIB provided 1 million UAH. AEQUO from Oleksii Filatov contributed 20,000, “Farmak” company 10,000, MTI allocated 6,000, “Kyivstar” and other benefactors contributed from 5 to 10 thousand dollars. Together, all these donations make it possible to return about 50 thousand children to the educational process in schools”, – said Tymofiy Mylovanov, president of the Kyiv School of Economics.
Alar Karis emphasized that Estonia stands by Ukraine and Ukrainians and will continue to invest in children’s safety and quality education:
“Ukraine’s future begins with children and youth. Russia is systematically destroying schools and preschools. We cannot wait for the war to end, we have to take care of children now, take care of safety and education, because if we can’t take care of it, we have no future. I came from a country with a population of 1.3 million people, the most valuable capital for us is people. Therefore, we decided to invest in the future of Ukraine.
Last year we founded a Ukrainian school in Tallinn, this year Estonia built a new kindergarten in Ukraine in the Zhytomyr Region with a bomb shelter.
Extraordinary suffering has befallen the lot of Ukrainians, but together with the people of Ukraine and institutions such as the Kyiv School of Economics, we are investing in our children, because this is our common future. We, Estonians, want to say that we are with you and we are helping”, – said Alar Karis, President of Estonia.
After the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the charity fund of the Kyiv School of Economics quickly reformatted its work and added a new large-scale goal to its strategic goal of education development and student support – aid to the army and humanitarian support of Ukrainians. With the support of Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine, Mrs. Larysa Galadza, the foundation’s work has also expanded to provide shelters in Ukrainian schools:
“Once, over lunch with Timofii Mylovanov, we talked about the fact that a school in a rural area with 200 students could not return schoolchildren to the educational process due to the lack of a bomb shelter. In such a rural area, sums of 1,000–2,000 dollars are unaffordable, therefore, due to the fact that it is not possible to equip the school with a bomb shelter, children stay with their parents and do not go to school. I said, let’s take care of the children. This is how this work began.
I want to say that KSE is not just an educational institution, but a very active agent of positive change, which for 3.5 years has been actively involved in various problems and situations, helping in various crises, starting from the COVID crisis to a full-scale invasion. For Canada, it is a very valuable and effective partner, because KSE’s activities are based on a documentary basis. If you have an interesting and useful idea that needs to be implemented, contact KSE. Because having ideas is one thing, and having the intention to implement and finances for reinforcement is another. KSE has proven itself as a partner that can do both”, – said Larysa Galadza.
All the guests of the event were gathered around the shelter – it was carefully disassembled in the Kharkiv region and reassembled in the same form already near the Kyiv School of Economics.
Curator Volodymyr Kadyhrob presented the art object:
“The children from the Gontariv Lyceum built this structure from materials at hand in order to solve a very practical problem: to have protection from wind and rain at a single point where you can catch the Internet and continue your studies. This is an example of incredible resilience and creativity of our children. After joint efforts managed to solve the communication problem for the school, we decided to preserve this structure as an art object and a symbol of time. For the first time, we are showing it near the campus of the Kyiv School of Economics, and then we have plans to present the object in foreign educational institutions”.
The director of the village school, Liudmyla Myronenko, emphasizes that the students not only had to build a shelter, but also placed it behind a water tower in order to hide from the Russian troops:
“The occupiers cut the wire back in April 2022, then we lost connection. That hill was the only place where we could catch the Internet. It was cold there, constant wind, rain, so the boys, Mykola from the 5th grade, Denys from the 5th grade, Artem from the 7th grade and Zhenya from the 11th grade, built a shelter. They placed it so that the occupiers could not see the “khalabuda” behind the water tower standing on the hill.
I want to say words of thanks, especially to Timofii, the world learned about us. I received such a powerful charge from the Kyiv School of Economics, it inspires me and I want to continue working, teaching children, I want to tell children that we will be safe. I hope so”.