First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine. This is a continuation of a partnership that was fruitful before the full-scale Russian invasion. In particular, UNICEF participated in the implementation of the reform of school meals, which was initiated by the wife of the President. Now it was decided to join forces and focus 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 information - 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, it has nullified the educational process in principle, forced our children to hide in bomb shelters, starve and flee abroad. The world should hear about it and remember it every day," 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 inclusion.
"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 future of more than 5.7 million schoolchildren in Ukraine. Together with Mrs. 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, the opportunity to interact with their peers and help with the educational process that they missed due to the war," said Murat Sahin, head of the UNICEF Office in Ukraine.