Stories from Ukraine –
This school for special education in Kharkiv used to be open around the clock from Monday to Friday assisting and educating 260 visually impaired children coupled with other disabilities.
When the war broke out we took everyone into the subway because it was underground and safer than being above ground. But it was crowded and loud, so when we realized the conflict would be longer than two days, we moved into the school’s basement. All the while the teachers kept finding ways to keep the kids calm and teach them. But when the school’s electrical hub was hit, the heat went out.
It was late February and still cold, so the kids began getting sick. We in turn began evacuating some of the children with their families as some of their homes had been shelled or vandalized. In the past months the school itself has been shelled five times. Each time the damage has been massive inside and out. The windows and doors and even some walls were smashed, the sports field has been destroyed, and greenhouses and orchards crushed.
Because of ISWI, we were able to replace the shattered doors with strong metal doors allowing us to use those classrooms again. Our main focus is the mental, emotional and physical health of the children. We work hard to occupy their minds with things other than the war. The children have found much satisfaction in the arts during this time and in October 2022 our orchestra even won first place in the Golden Fest international competition! After the war, we can always teach subjects like science and history.
We are so thankful to ISWI, that in a difficult time for our country, you found an opportunity to support our special children, who lay the foundations of the life of the generation of the 21st century. You are an example for our children. Your actions today are a guarantee that our children will grow up caring and ready to help others in need.