>>> The war in Ukraine has had a particularly cruel impact on children. Not just those who have been tragically killed. Take a look at these photos of a school destroyed in Russian attacks. It is one of many schools to have been destroyed. To educating Ukrainian children as safely as possible, many schools are now holding classes online for those still able to attend. Joining us is the head of the educational non-profit teach for Ukraine. We are joined by one of the students in her program, 16-year-old Irena. I’m glad to see you here tonight. I’m eager to speak to you about your experiences. I understand there has been a
horrible impact on the program you run, including the death of at least one of the fellows in the program over this past week. A 21-year-old named Julia. I’m sorry for your loss. Tell me about her.
>> Morning. Yeah. Julia was one of our fellows of 2021. She was a math teacher. She was also a math genius. We found out about her death at the beginning of March. Before the war, she was teaching in one of the small communities. Then she went back to her hometown, kharkiv, second largest city that has been under the heavy shelling since day one. We know she had been volunteering very actively. On the 3rd of March, we lost the connection with her. This is when we suspected something wrong was happening. In two days, we found out that she was killed while
volunteering by the Russian missile in the central part of kharkiv, unfortunately.
>> I’m so sorry to hear about that. There are so many others in the program tipping — continuing to teach, a safe place for the students who are desperate to have normalcy, to have that connection. What has it been like for teachers to know that in many respects, they are that safe space and life line?
>> Our teachers used to teach in different sections of Ukraine. When the invasion started, we needed to go to safe place. We out in that maybe education process will be stopped as the ministry of education announce two weeks of break. Then after two weeks, we had hope. The ministry decided to resume distance learning in the regions that have not been suffering from military action.
That was so much hope for our teachers, our fellows. They have been in touch with students from day one. We knew that students were eager to get back to this normalcy, even online, while during the covid, they were not so much eager to be joining classes.
>> Of course. I want to bring in one of the students, if I can. I want to make sure I hear from her. Irena, I know this has been something extraordinarily difficult for students in the program and for young people in general across the world watching what’s going on. Tell me about what has been your experience in Ukraine. What has been your feeling about how this has really changed the world that you know?
>> I was really upset when I hear war was started. I didn’t know what think.
My previous life just cut down. My dreams came away from me. Now I must to fight — I must fight to bring them one more time. I must be brave. We all must be brave to win this unreasonable and just horrible war. When I see what is — I want to cry sometimes. I want to hear from someone that it all just end.
I don’t. I don’t hear it from somebody. And from anybody.
>> It’s devastating to hear from Irena and her experiences. I see you nodding your head and thinking about the dreams that she says she doesn’t have, the feeling of the devastation. What goes through your head? I know it can be a very difficult program when a student doesn’t show up one day or is not somehow in the classroom setting. What goes through your mind?
>> Well, you know, quite a few of our school partners allocated in the Kyiv region, as you mentioned, one of the schools was heavily damaged. We still have some one or two children missing in some classes as well as teachers. This is devastating not to be able to hear the news that they are 100% alive and that everything is all right. Of course, we cannot say this
for sure, because a lot of families have been moving around, including live in Ukraine. The number of children that have been back to online teaching, 3.5 million out of 4.2 million, according to the ministry, is already a great number to be inspired with.
>> It is.
>> No matter distance learning.
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