Kindergartens bear the traces of war


Vidya Vanniasingam


September 25, 2020

Estimated reading time:

5 min

Picture of old furniture in Ukrainian kindergarten

An armed conflict has been raging in the Donbass region of Ukraine since 2014. Much of the infrastructure located along the frontline was destroyed or damaged by artillery and mortar fire, including dozens of schools and kindergartens. For the past 10 months, FSD teams have been visiting the latter to assess their needs and provide them with assistance.

"Look, the roof was damaged by artillery fire, and when it rains, water leaks inside the sleeping room," laments Miss Olena, headmistress of the Svitlodarsk kindergarten, located less than five kilometers from the contactline. We have to place bowls on the beds to catch the water flowing from the ceiling, and the walls are gradually crumbling from the runoff. Our little ones no longer have a place to nap. "

Most of the children attending “Riduga” kindergarten in Svitlodarsk were not yet born when the building was hit in 2015. Yet they are confronted daily with the scars of the ongoing war between Ukrainian forces and  separatists.

Miss Olena continues the tour of the kindergarten and shows the FSD team a cardboard box containing pieces of metal. "These are fragments of mortar shells," the headmistress explains sadly. “I have also kept a piece of the curtain torn by the explosion. "

Emergency repairs were carried out following the shelling, but much remains to be done to rehabilitate the building and its furniture so that the children can be properly accommodated.

With the support of private donors, FSD has been assisting in the rehabilitation of schools and kindergartens located within 20 km of the contact line since December 2019. More than 70 establishments have been visited and 44 have already received material assistance.

At the kindergarten in the village of Pleshchevka, for example, new beds and sheets were provided, as well as equipment for the canteen. The little ones can now at least forget about the conflict for a nap or a meal, until the din of shelling and Kalashnikov gunfire eventually becomes just a bad dream.

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“I was playing outside with some friends when one of them picked up a piece of metal lying on the floor. Suddenly there was an explosion. We all fell to the ground. I felt like I had been hit in the back. ” Sanita, 11 years old. 

Like Sanita, many children walk in areas contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance on a daily basis. Since 1997, FSD has worked tirelessly to locate and eliminate these dangerous legacies of war around the world, and to prevent accidents through awareness campaigns. FSD also remediates sites polluted by toxic waste, and supports peace and development in conflict-affected countries.

Together, we can act. Every donation, no matter how small, helps shape a safer future for those who have already suffered so much.

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