In December 2016 in 11 schools in different regions of Ukraine, solemn ceremonies were held that celebrated the signing of the Certifications of Repairs that were conducted by Caritas Ukraine within last six months. The project was supported financially by USAID Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and Catholic Relief Service.
In 2016, the reform of secondary education in Ukraine has begun. It envisages the creation of so-called Hub Schools. Pupils from the surrounding villages will be going to these schools starting from the fifth grade in order to optimize educational facilities in rural areas. 24 schools received the status of “Hub” within the experiment. However, effective implementation of the new system of education is possible only if educational and technical capabilities of existing schools are improved and modernized. Schools in small towns and villages are often not able to conduct basic repairs. Another important aspect of the experiment is the ability to provide education to children with special needs who often cannot attend school because of the room facilities that are not suitable for implementation of inclusive education.
Caritas Ukraine undertook to help schools from different regions of Ukraine making the most essential repairs and, in particular, adapting them for children with special needs. In the spring 2016, needs assessment was conducted and the areas requiring immediate response identified. In particular, experts noted that the care for people with disabilities is a priority and needs urgent solution. While most schools do not meet basic standards of Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), which is an essential criterion for the implementation of inclusive education. Due to the needs assessment and preliminary negotiations, 11 schools met project requirements and have been selected for the project. “Doors of the school in Turya-Remety are always open to every pupil without any exception. We would love to give access and qualified education to children with disabilities. – expresses her position Antonina Mehela, the director of one of the schools covered by the project. – We are very grateful to Caritas Ukraine for responding to school request and installation of a wheelchair ramp for disabled children at the school entrance. We are doing everything possible to improve our school conditions.”
Participants of the project were:
- The school in Bilshivtsi town, Halych district, Ivano-Frankivsk region (arranging of the bathroom for children with disabilities, renovation of bathrooms for all pupils, installation of the entrance ramp, arrangement of the drainage system of the roof).
- The school in Mamalyha village, Mamalyha district, Chernivtsi region (renovation of the bathroom for the needs of the disabled persons, including boiler for heating water, repairs of the gym (including dressing rooms) and kitchen.
- The school in Turya-Remety, Perechyn district, Zakarpattia region (concreting of the new entrance to the school and installation of the wheelchair ramp, installation of new entrance doors, renovation of bathrooms on every floor, one of them equipped for the needs of disabled people, arrangement of the roof drainage system and installation of an exhaust fan in the gym).
- The Yaniv School in Ivano-Frankove town, Yavoriv district, Lviv region (installation of the wheelchair ramp with handrails, renovation of the toilet on the ground floor of the school for access of the students with special needs, establishing of the drainage system for rainwater from the roof of the school as well as thermal and waterproofing of the roof of the gym and system of ventilation in the hall).
- The school in Zinkiv village, Vinkovets district, Khmelnytsky region (equipping of the bathroom for disabled children, renovation of the gym).
- The school in Skala-Podilska, Borshchiv district, Ternopil region (replacement of 38 windows, equipping of the bathroom for children with special needs and installation of boiler for heating water)
- The school in Zhydychyn, Kivertsi district, Volyn region (thermal insulation of the roof, upgrading of the ventilation system in the school).
- The school in Velyka Lepetykha village, Velyka Lepetykha district, Kherson region (equipping of the bathroom for disabled children, repairs of the gym, including the replacement of seven windows, reconstruction of the assembly hall, installation of the entrance with the wheelchair ramp).
- The school in Myrohoshcha village, Dubno district, Rivne region (equipping with a bathroom for disabled children, reconstruction of the showers, installation of the entrance wheelchair ramp, repairs of the ventilation system in the kitchen).
- The school in Zhovten village, Shyriayeve district, Odessa region (equipping the bathroom for children with disabilities, replacement of flooring in the classrooms of one of the school buildings, reconstruction of the entrance including installation of the wheelchair ramp, replacement of 31 window in the primary school and 12 windows in the gym, replacement of the ventilation in the kitchen).
- The school in Sukhy Yelanets village, Nova Odesa district, Mykolayiv region (completion of external finishing works, installation of the wheelchair ramp at the entrance, equipping of the new bathroom that takes into account the needs of disabled, installation of 88 new windows).
During repairing works, it was required to comply with the principles of environmental and energy efficiency. There were used only certified non-toxic materials, energy-saving and energy-efficient appliances (boilers, heaters, bulbs). Particular attention was paid to recycling and reusing of materials. For example, building materials remaining after the dismantling of constructions at the school in Turya-Remety were used for improving foundation layers of local roads, while old window frames of the school in Velyka Lepetykha village were passed to a school in Mala Lepetykha for heating the school.
“Our school is the first Hub school in Galytsky district – comments the director of Bilshivtsi secondary school Natalia Samochko. – Being a pioneer is not only interesting, but also very responsible. I had to communicate with many donors of the project. They convinced me about the sincerity of their intentions. The project itself analyzed profoundly all aspects of the topic and avoided empty promises. The most important for the school is done at the present moment. “