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Hopefully no one will catch the disease

14. December 2020 - Ukraine
It has now been six years since the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine had taken place. Much has been destroyed, others are ramshackle, and a large proportion of the people living in the regions of Slovyansk and Donezk can barely feed themselves. The spread of Covid-19 has further exacerbated the dramatic situation. According to UN estimates, some 3.4 million people in Eastern Ukraine are currently dependent on aid. Especially affected are children, who are therefore now supported by a special project of arche noVa.

Lilija Filenko is a teacher with passion. Nothing is more important to her than to create a good learning atmosphere for her students, so that they like to come to school and can concentrate on studying. The old building in which Filenko teaches breathes history. The famous Ukrainian writer Stepan Vasilchenko attended school here, as did other local heroes. Today's School No. 21 has stood in the small town of Shcherbynovka in Donezk Oblast since 1898. When war broke out in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, the town of Torezk, to which Shcherbynovka formally belongs, was suddenly in the middle of the battle zone. To this day, the so-called conflict line runs only a few kilometers from here. It is precisely here that the people are particularly in need of help.

While Lilija Filenko had managed to organize the daily school life of her 106 children quite well in recent years despite all the difficulties, the pandemic that began in March gave her a hard time. Suddenly, the principal was no longer primarily responsible for good and appealing lessons and learning successes of her students, but she had to take care of hygiene concepts, distance rules and mandatory masking in the school building.

Where she was going to get all the disinfectants she suddenly needed to protect her schoolchildren against the Corona virus, no one could tell her. Nor could Filenko say how she was going to pay for all of that. Therefore, the principal from Shcherbynovka school was all the more grateful that the Ukrainian aid organization New Way from nearby Slovyansk offered support. The local partner of arche noVa, which emerged from the former arche noVa team one year ago, realizes aid projects along the conflict line. Just like at arche noVa, the central tasks are hygiene prevention as well as water and sanitation supply. Due to Corona, there are currently numerous aid measures that serve the protection against Covid-19.

In total, arche noVa supports 29 educational institutions along the conflict line in the Donezk region with the current hygiene project. Almost 5800 school and kindergarten children as well as 1100 teachers, educators and cleaning staff, among them many internally displaced persons, shall be protected against the spread of the virus at educational institutions.

Lilija Filenko is happy about the support she received. "The support for the school was urgently needed, since no one else could help us. We are grateful to everyone who supports this project financially and organizationally," says the director of school #21 in Shcherbynovka.


The arche noVa project became possible, among other things, due to the commitment of the Saxon State Chancellery. The cooperation with local partner organizations was important, as it was not possible to travel to eastern Ukraine from Dresden due to the pandemic. With New Way, arche noVa has had a reliable partner in the region for over a year, which implements relief measures quickly and effectively.

Thus, as part of the current hygiene project, a total of 1600 flyers and posters on hand hygiene and distance rules were distributed to daycare centers and schools, and the facilities were supported in developing individual hygiene plans and training their staff. In addition, each school received a hygiene kit containing disinfectants and cleaning products, such as soap, dishwashing detergent, garbage bags, toilet paper, rags and brushes. In addition, the kits included cleaning gloves for housekeeping staff and a bucket. The New Way team that distributed the hygiene packs to the 29 schools and daycare centers in and around Torezk was also provided with protective masks and gloves.

Lilija Filenko is glad that her school is now well provided for. Nevertheless, she hopes that none of her school kids or any of the staff will be infected with the dangerous virus. And that they all get through the winter well, which is now beginning with sub-zero temperatures and the first snow in Shcherbynovka.

Logo Freistaat SachsenDiese Maßnahme wird mitfinanziert durch Steuermittel auf der Grundlage des von den Abgeordneten des Sächsischen Landtags beschlossenen Haushalts.