More than 300 schoolers of the Kyiv Lyceum, from first-graders to graduates, will spend the next academic year in safety – thanks to the cooperation of Ukrposhta with the KSE Foundation, it was possible to arrange a safe and comfortable shelter for school children.

There are 7 million children of war in Ukraine. The KSE Foundation’s school shelter program “ZAKHYSTOK: Safe Education” gives students the opportunity to study within the walls of their home school and receive quality offline education. On February 24 of this year, Ukrposhta put into circulation the postage stamp “ПТН ПНХ!”, dedicated to the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. This brand is charitable, so part of the proceeds from its sale was directed to arrangement of shelter.

“With the beginning of the great war, Ukraine faced an urgent need for school shelters. Ukrposhta works to create safe and comfortable conditions for the education of our schoolchildren, because acquiring high-quality knowledge in face-to-face mode is an important key to a prosperous future of the country. The shelter for the Kivshovat Lyceum is our first implemented project together with the KSE Foundation. I am sure that, together with caring Ukrainians, Ukrposhta will arrange more than one shelter where our children will always feel safe”, – Ihor Smilianskyi, General Director of Ukrposhta.

Kivshovat Lyceum is a supporting educational institution, where children from six surrounding villages study. Every morning, students are brought to the school yard by two school buses: there used to be three such buses, but with the beginning of a full-scale invasion, the school gave one to the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“Children still see rockets flying over our villages. They are excited and worried. Many of our students live in neighboring villages, and at such a time it is difficult for their parents to send them far away to school. But now we have a renovated shelter and parents know that children are safe during an emergency, so everyone will be back in their classrooms on September 1st. We are very grateful for the colossal help that the charity fund of the Kyiv School of Economics launched a program for furnishing, and Ukrposhta joined in helping our lyceum,” – says Oksana Halchyk, director of the lyceum. 

The school does not have a room that would be suitable for shelter, so in order to return the children to high-quality offline education, repairs were made in the basement of the House of Culture nearby:

“The shelter is right in the building next to us. So after the air-raid alarm signal, in a few minutes all the children are safe in the shelter. Previously, this basement was not only in a state of disrepair, damp and without ventilation, but it could only accommodate 100 people. After the work, all our 302 schoolchildren and even teachers can comfortably stay here,” – says Oksana Halchyk.

Ms. Oksana says that before the renovation, the basement of the local House of Culture resembled a horror movie: remnants of plaster were falling from the ceiling, and due to old wiring and high humidity, the lighting system was in a state of emergency: dim lamps flickered and suddenly turned off. The lack of ventilation and a layer of dust on the floor prevented breathing. 

Now, thanks to Ukrposhta, the electrical wiring and lighting system in the premises were completely replaced, a powerful ventilation system was installed, waterproofing was carried out, all surfaces were cleaned of fungus and painted, a concrete screed was made, 5 doors were installed for the main and emergency exits, and soft doors were also purchased benches for sitting.

“Of course, we will hide here during air alarms. But we still plan to use the shelter for subject classes, where the students communicate a lot and rest – we don’t have a dance hall in our school, so we want to conduct the choreography class in the shelter, because the floor is made of very high quality,” – says Oksana Halchyk.

The lyceum has many creative and sports clubs, and the school brass band “Harmony” not only participates in festivals and competitions, but also received an invitation to perform in France!

Many school teachers, like the headmistress herself, have a psychological education, so with the beginning of a full-scale invasion, they only try to increase the creative activity of students. This is especially important for children who were forced to leave their homes due to occupation and hostilities – the lyceum has been teaching internally displaced children since 2014.

“Many of our students have experienced terrible events, seen terrible things, and creativity helps them. They sing, master musical instruments, play sports – they have no time to think about terrible events. Children who left occupied Mariupol, walked the streets of the already destroyed city and left through enemy checkpoints, study here. We are happy that they managed to reach us then. In total, 30 children from Donetsk region, Kharkiv region, and Zaporizhzhia study with us now…”, – says Oksana Halchyk.

And for the family from Vovchansk, Kharkiv region, which is located on the border with Russia, the lyceum became a real new beginning – second-grader Nastia quickly adapted to the new team, and her father began to lead the school’s volleyball section.

“I love children, they love me”, – Ms. Oksana tells us. The school staff works every day to create a second home for every child at the lyceum, to give them an impetus for educational achievements and the development of a wide variety of talents. And in their spare time, they bake pies for the military, organize meetings for drones and cars for parents of schoolchildren who are going to the front line.

Together with the Ukrposhta team, we are happy to give them the opportunity to resume face-to-face classes and return to schoolchildren such an important sense of security.