Ukraine has been in quarantine since 12th March. The COVID-19 crisis has added extra pressure to the already limited economy in the east of the country, which has been enduring armed conflict for over six years. This has caused a collapse of basic services in a number of communities and locals have had to rely on the services of neighbouring villages, making them heavily dependent on public transport. Since the area locked down due to the pandemic, people who were already vulnerable have seen their situation go from bad to worse.
Despite these difficulties, FSD teams are continuing to provide aid to the schools and kindergartens located along the contact line in the east of Ukraine. They are continuing to visit and assess the needs of educational institutions, even if they are closed. These needs include a lack of teaching resources, damaged infrastructure, and children and teachers exposed to the risk of explosive remnants of war on the walk to school. FSD assesses the needs of each school individually, so as to provide them with the materials they need and the support required in preparation for when they next re-open.
Recently, after having supplied sewing machines to Chasiv Yar School 15 in Bakhmutsky Raion, a member of our team came up with the idea of encouraging teachers to support communities affected by the crisis by producing reusable masks with the new machines.
Within the space of three days, they had made more than 100 masks! Since then, teachers have been producing masks for schools but also for at-risk populations. Wearing masks is mandatory in Ukraine and this constitutes a certain financial investment given that the budget for it is equal to 1% of a retiree's monthly pension. These free masks distributed by our teams therefore offer considerable benefit to the old and vulnerable population in these areas.
Over the next few months the project will concentrate mainly on material aid with a view to ensuring that children and their teachers emerge from the crisis in a better position.