The V.I. Vernadskyi School in Shyshaky village, Poltava Oblast, is now open following a complete renovation under the Ukraine Early Recovery Programme (UERP) run by the European Investment Bank (EIB). Thanks to this upgrade, local children can enjoy a modern and inclusive learning environment, nutritious food and school transportation services.
The school currently serves 466 students — among them, 41 children of combat veterans, ten whose parents were affected by the Chornobyl disaster and 13 with disabilities. The V.I. Vernadskyi School has also welcomed 24 internally displaced children from the regions most affected by the war.
The renovation encompassed extensive upgrades to the interior, including a complete overhaul of the bathrooms, new energy-efficient windows and doors and new recreational areas. The infrastructure was significantly improved as well, with upgrades to the school’s gas control equipment and the replacement of its water supply, sewerage, heating, ventilation and electricity networks. A modern computer network and server hardware were also installed. To improve inclusivity, the grounds were adapted for children with special needs by adding facilities like ramps, an elevator and a lift.
The works were financed by a €1 million loan from the EIB, the bank of the European Union. A substantial further contribution of €100 000 was drawn from the local budget.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine and Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development, remarked, “This school represents another achievement through dedicated cooperation between Ukraine and its European partners. As part of the We Build Ukraine initiative and the EU-supported UERP, we press on despite daily threats to create a new Ukraine, leaving no Ukrainian behind.”
Ukrainian Minister of Finance Sergii Marchenko underlined the importance of European financial support in times of war. “Even as the war goes on, children must have access to quality education. The comprehensive renovation of the Shyshaky school is an essential step towards providing decent social conditions and meeting the needs of people affected by the war. We are grateful to the European Union and the EIB for their support, and look forward to implementing more life-changing projects.”
Oleksandr Tutka, Head of the Shyshaky United Territorial Community, reaffirmed the value of this project for the children of Shyshaky village. “Although we feared that a full-scale invasion would interrupt the work, the reconstruction was completed on time. For me, this is another example of Ukrainian resilience and striving for a better life. But of course, it would not have been possible without the support of the European Union, and so we want to thank our partners for their help and commitment.”
EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, responsible for the Bank’s operations in Ukraine, stated, “Russia’s brutal war has impacted millions of children in Ukraine, changing their lives drastically. It is essential to ensure that Ukrainian children have access to education in a comfortable, safe and inclusive environment now, without waiting for the war to end. That is why, despite all the challenges, the EIB hasn’t paused its local projects in the country, and we continue to make positive changes on the ground. Now children in Shyshaky village, local and internally displaced alike, can learn in comfortable classrooms with modern equipment and play in new recreational areas. This wouldn’t have been possible without the well-coordinated teamwork with our Ukrainian partners and the impressive dedication of the construction workers. By caring for Ukrainian children today, we ensure a prosperous future for Ukraine within the European family.”
EU Ambassador to Ukraine Katarína Mathernová stated that it is crucial for the European Union to empower Ukrainian communities through close cooperation and programmes that directly improve people’s lives and wellbeing. “Russia’s brutal war of aggression brings nothing but destruction. But Ukrainians don’t lose hope. And they have never stopped fighting. They rebuild what has been destroyed, they repair their lives, and we are here to help them. The European Union has consistently stepped up its political, humanitarian and financial support for Ukraine’s economy, society and recovery. Today all of us, together, have made the lives of Ukrainian pupils a bit better. And we will keep on doing that.”
Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine, remarked that such initiatives are fundamental to Ukraine’s complete and resilient recovery. “In war, children are profoundly vulnerable, and it becomes our ethical duty to ensure that their needs are met,” he said. “Together with the European Union, its bank the EIB, and our Ukrainian partners, we remain undeterred in our mission to ensure that no Ukrainian child is left behind.”
The renovation of the V.I. Vernadskyi School in Shyshaky was carried out under the Ukraine Early Recovery Programme (UERP), a €200 million multi-sectoral framework loan from the EIB. By empowering local authorities to refurbish social infrastructure, the UERP enhances the living conditions of internally displaced persons and their host communities. To date, 106 subprojects have been completed, including the renovation of 51 education buildings, 37 health facilities, nine social housing blocks, four administrative buildings, four culture buildings and one sports centre. The Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine coordinates the UERP together with the Ministry of Finance, but the reconstruction projects are fully managed by local government bodies. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine provides technical assistance for the programme, ensuring the effective and efficient execution of subprojects.
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