Olena Zelenska signed a Memorandum with UNICEF in Ukraine to strengthen joint work in the fields of education and protection of children during war
The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Office in Ukraine. This is a continuation of a fruitful partnership before the full-scale Russian invasion. In particular, UNICEF participated in the implementation of the reform of school nutrition, which the wife of the President initiated. Now it was decided to join forces and focus them on ensuring that children and young people, especially the most vulnerable groups, feel the harmful effects of war as little as possible.
"One of the important directions of our work will be informational - we must constantly tell the world how war takes away childhood from our children. We will emphasize to the international community that Russia regularly violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Ukraine. Russia damaged more than 2,000 educational institutions. But these are only buildings. Since February, she has nullified the educational process, forced our children to hide in bomb shelters, starve, and flee abroad. The world should hear about it and remember it daily," said Olena Zelenska.
The Memorandum defines the following main areas of cooperation: improving access and quality of education in schools and kindergartens, implementing the National Program of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support to deal with the trauma caused by war now, creating a barrier-free environment for children and building social inclusions.
One of the elements of cooperation within the framework of the Memorandum will be the "Together for Education" campaign, which UNICEF will launch on the eve of the academic year with the Ministry of Education and Science and other authorities with the support of the First Lady. The initiative will have several components: educational space safety, bomb shelters, shelter activities, teacher training and mine safety training, psychosocial support, youth engagement and development.
"We are ready to continue this important partnership between UNICEF and the First Lady. The war in Ukraine and the destruction of the educational infrastructure have a devastating impact on the lives and futures of more than 5.7 million schoolchildren in Ukraine. Together with Ms. Zelenska, we will work to protect the rights of every child and create an opportunity to continue education in these difficult times. Education is a right and one of the most important investments to give children a sense of normalcy and security. Children in Ukraine and abroad need safe access to education and psychological support. They need space and an opportunity to interact with their peers and help with the educational process that they missed due to the war," said Murat Shahin, head of the UNICEF Office in Ukraine.
The "Learning Together" campaign aims to restore Ukrainian children's access to education and improve their physical health, nutrition, and social-emotional development.
This is important for everyone: parents, children, teachers, and school administrators. After all, young Ukrainians need to study. The educational process also helps them maintain mental, physical health and psychosocial development. Adults together with children can choose the format of education in the new year: online, offline, or combined. However, the issue of education should remain a priority for every child.