Education in times of war: the example of Putyvl

Published: Mar 29, 2024 Reading time: 3 minutes
Education in times of war: the example of Putyvl
© Foto: People in Need

The future of Ukraine depends on intelligent and successful children. That is why we care so much about education, and it is why we are extending the reach of our Digital Learning Centres (DLCs). Additionally, we pay special attention to frontline and border communities. Children living through the consequences of war need quality education and a sense of security. In Putyvl, Sumy Oblast, schoolchildren have the opportunity to visit a modern space where they can not only study but also attend creative classes.

Sumy Oblast was one of the first to feel the burden of war. The border with Russia is long—more than 560 kilometres. Residents here endured terrible battles and occupation. In April 2022, control over the border was restored, but intense shelling continues to this day. Communities near the border are particularly affected, being literally wiped off the face of the earth. The evacuation of the population continues.

The distance from Putyvl to Russia is less than forty kilometres. That is why the residents, about 15,000 of them, together with IDPs, do not ignore the air raid alerts. 

One of the critical tasks of the community is to educate children. Here, as in other educational institutions, the issue of reliable shelters—an absolute necessity in wartime—has become acute.

"Despite the danger, this year, 5 of our graduates passed the national multi-subject test with 200 points. This is an excellent result, even better than last year. And our task is to provide decent conditions," says Lyudmila Skorobogata, head of the education department of the Putyvl City Council.

As part of the "Ukraine Education Response Consortium: Safe Return to Learning" project, we support communities and local authorities in restoring the educational process to a normal state. In Sumy Oblast alone, we have helped repair 19 schools, both in the buildings and in shelters. The creation of Digital Learning Centres for children complimented this work. "Be Smart" in Putyvl became the 11th institution that our team opened in Sumy Oblast.

 The children are already used to attending classes at the city's after-school centre. It is a large, monumental building with its own shelter. And now the students have the opportunity to attend our happy childhood space, which was opened in the same building. 

"This room was quite cold. There were old windows. However, our engineers turned the old cluttered room into a modern space for children's learning and development," says Liudmyla Chorna, Education Coordinator at People in Need.

Our Be Smart centre has a study room and a playroom. In the former, children have access to computers and can connect to online lessons and do their homework. In the latter, children have space for inspiration and creativity. Professional teachers-facilitators organise a variety of activities, from creative classes to scientific experiments. The topics of the meetings depend on the age of the visitors and their preferences.


On the first day of the centre's operation, there was a real stir. Parents were happy that their children have new opportunities for development.  

"If children have a choice, they are motivated. My son Artem is currently attending a theatre group, but I hope that here he will discover his other talents. He is a first-grader, and a good start in school is very important to us," says Kateryna.

We continue to work to make the educational process in Ukraine accessible and safe. We believe that every child has the right to a quality education, regardless of their circumstances. The digital centre in Putyvl is another step towards big changes. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to this project.

The centre was created within the framework of the project "Ukraine Education Response Consortium: Safe Return to Learning" in partnership with Save the Children in Ukraine, Finn Church Aid, EdCamp, and ISTOK, with funding from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.

Autor: People in Need

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