July 12, 2022

Let’s reopen schools: helping refugees to move out of classrooms

In July we are helping refugees move out of school halls and into our hostels so classrooms can reopen, and Director Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao met some of them in her visit to Lviv. There is still so much uncertainty about the future, but some people in our hostels call themselves “a big family”. Seeking privacy on their bunkbed, or chatting in the kitchen, they live in close quarters. By asking donors to fund another 85 people in hostels, we can meet the essential need for children in Lviv to benefit from teaching, social interaction and routine in school.

Schools became shelters at the start of the war, with online classes resuming. Since March 2020 children’s education has mostly been online due to Covid-19 and this impacts the quality of education and children’s mental health.

Calls keep coming in to Maria Boiko, who leads the team in Lviv, from school staff who are urgently seeking solutions. Some need halls so they can conduct exams, while others need to start repairs and have time to set up the classrooms. We can take in families with children, and in this way be a useful partner to the Ministry of Education’s Department of Humanitarian Politics within Lviv City Hall.

The impact of adding 85 beds will be:

  • Hundreds of children will have educational, social and mental health benefits in school
  • Mothers have advice and support towards self-reliance
  • Children can join our Creative Hub and development programmes
  • Schools can hold entrance exams and do necessary repairs and preparations
  • Link with longer-term solutions being developed by government and other NGOs

In Lviv there are an estimated 20,000 people living in schools. With 8 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Ukraine, the scale of the humanitarian disaster is huge. Maksym Kozytskyi, the Head of Lviv Region State Administration, explains:

“We should help displaced citizens through joint efforts of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and we want to partner within this process. The main problems we are faced with [includes] placement of IDPs.

We must start the next school year in schools and kindergartens on time; therefore we need to relocate IDPs. We are working on organizing additional places to provide IDPs with all the necessities, but we need help.”

We are calling for donors to sponsor a hostel, or a bed, to be part of the solution. This will give people time to find jobs, alternative housing, or assess if is safe to return home. It also enables us to dovetail with the additional housing planned by government or find grants for those who need ongoing help because of the war. A group of 24 people will be funded by Ukraine Charity (based in London). We greatly appreciate every contribution to help us add 85 people to our shelters. A bed for 108 days will cost 360€.

If you are interested in funding a group of people at a hostel, or the staff who will support the transition to self-reliance, the itemised costs for the 31.677 Euro we need to cover are:

  • 16 beds at Hostel L -                                      5.744 Euro
  • 25 beds at Hostel U –                                    8.975 Euro
  • 20 beds at Hostel Z –                                    7.180 Euro
  • Coordinator (4 month’s salary) –                   1.385 Euro
  • Social Worker (4 month’s salary) –                2.327 Euro
  • Food aid where essential -                            6.066 Euro

"For every supporter, I wish you could feel the warmth of the thanks from mothers, the smiles of children as they introduce themselves in their few words of English, or see the swagger of teenagers coming back from football and finding ways to get on with their life. I was so happy that an 18 year old boy who I met at the hostel, whose family left Ukraine, could join our first IT lesson with lectures from Intellias company experts. We are finding ways to support education and help people into work, and in this way doing our part towards rebuilding Ukraine." - Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao

Jasmine meeting a family at the hostel, together with Hennadiy Melnychuk who has helped some residents find work and supported 5 transitions to new schools or universities; on the right children from our Creative Hub go to safety during an air raid alarm.


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