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Being a teacher and a friend: how schools work in hospitals

Being a teacher and a friend: how schools work in hospitals


Oleksii is a second grader, but he spent the last two months not at the desk, but in the basement of Mariupol. There, together with his family, the boy hid from air strikes. Oleksiy's mother recalls how she and other women listened to the sounds of fighter jets, sat in a circle, hugged each other and hid their children in the center: "We, all the mothers, thought of only one thing then - to die at the same time, together, so that the children would not be left alone in this horror." Now Oleksiy is safe and even attends individual lessons. It is hard to believe, but even after the shock of war, children are eager to learn.

There is a School of Superheroes at the Okhmatdyt National Children's Hospital, where Oleksiy and his family came to. Here children get knowledge, it was before the war, and it is now. For example, Oleksiy was able to return to school because the teacher, Mrs. Yulia Mykolaivna, found an approach to the little superhero. The teacher with the eloquent surname Commander, before the war taught in the primary school of one of Kyiv schools. And now she decided to join the lessons in the hospital: "I saw from my students how depressed they are by this war. And I thought: how do the wounded children feel? Children who went through all this horror? So when I saw the announcement that the School of Superheroes was looking for teachers, I did not hesitate and submitted my application. Being a teacher and a friend - this is how I can help children in times of war." Mrs. Yulia managed an incredible thing - carefully and delicately she turned Oleksiy away from the war to classes, to lessons that are interesting to him. And assures that soon they will be able to catch up with the entire program, so that in the fall the boy could go to school without any delays.

Artyukh Karina also escaped with her parents from the devastated Mariupol, was wounded and was treated at the National Children's Hospital Okhmatdyt. And additional therapy for Karina became mathematics with the teacher Kirkevich Elena Lvovna. Karina is preparing for the External Independent Testing and diligently storms all the formulas, she repeats that the war will not stop her dream to go to university.These are just a few stories about how children in hospitals are winning this war together with teachers, parents and doctors. Back in 2016, the Superheroes School held its first lessons at the Okhmatdyt National Children's Hospital for children with HIV. Then it became clear that education in hospitals is extremely necessary. Because often children are forced to undergo treatment for months, and some for years, and stay in the wards. And they all have the right to education and their chance for the future. So in 2017 the first stationary class appeared, later there were already two of them. And in a couple of years, the School of Superheroes has grown to the scale of the country - its classes were opened in Dnipro, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytskyi, Kharkiv and Kherson. The school became a franchise and finally, on January 1, 2022, it received the status of a state institution - the Hospital School of Superheroes. This meant only one thing: sooner or later each city would be able to invite children to classes in their hospitals.

These plans, like all others in our country, were destroyed by the war. But the School on the basis of the NDSL Okhmatdyt hospital did not stop working even in the first weeks of missile strikes. Yes, most of its students left the country, because they were taken abroad for treatment. But the School became a place that accepted new superheroes: those who survived the shelling, those who lost their homes. The School and its Library opened the space of childhood, where one could dive into the universe of knowledge, stories and miracles at least for a couple of hours. And since April, students who were hospitalized at the Okhmatdyt National Children's Hospital, but are still abroad, gradually began to return to online learning. These are children with cancer diagnoses who need constant treatment. However, they missed their lessons so much that they resumed their classes with teachers using online platforms. Superheroes from pediatrics and toxicology are already returning to group classes, and new specialists are joining the team of teachers. The school is alive and well with 30 brave students attending its lessons: together, individually or from abroad.

Two teachers - Luchyk Halyna Mykolaivna and Savchenko Bohdan Petrovych - are permanently working offline, giving lessons in mathematics, robotics, the discipline "I learn the world" and those subjects that each superhero wishes separately. Because there are 8 more teachers who are ready to join at the first request. Childhood cannot be paused, and this is loudly evidenced by the 98 lessons that have been held since the beginning of the war. The Superheroes School has become a portal to childhood during the war, its teachers believe that these lessons are also a powerful therapy, and parents continue to support every desire of their children to look at a new lesson: "It allows them to believe in themselves again, that there is something beyond this horror," says Oleksiy's mother. "Of course, we have a lot of work ahead of us. We still have to look into the eyes of children who have seen hell. But for the sake of the future of these children, for their physical and mental health, we are here. Everyone is in their place and ready to work for victory, for the return of schools in Kherson, where incredible teachers work. Until our children are safe and real school bells sound instead of sirens" - Eugenia Smirnova, founder of the School of Superheroes.

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