International Cooperation

Avdijivka School – Lithuania’s largest development cooperation project

1 December, 2021
Avdijivka School - Lithuania's largest development cooperation project

As a result of more than two years of Lithuanian development cooperation project in the Donetsk region, Lithuanians transformed a school rebuilt by Ukrainians into one of the most modern educational institutions in the country. The community of Avdijivka, a small town near the front line in eastern Ukraine, has started a new phase of life this autumn. The results of the project and its impact on the people of the region are presented in a video report:


This year celebration of 1st of September in Avdiivka, located in eastern Ukraine, was exceptional. Accompanied by their parents and teachers, children, waving Lithuanian and Ukrainian flags, were eagerly awaiting the moment when they would be able to enter the newly rebuilt school, equipped with modern educational facilities and funded by Lithuanian Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion funds. The school was rebuilt after it had been devastated by the fierce battles of the Ukrainian army against the pro-Russian separatists in 2014. Although the Ukrainians managed to regain and take control of the town of Avdiivka, many scars of the war remain in the daily lives of the residents. Buildings covered in artillery shells and signs marking the threat of minefields are reminders of the clashes that took place.

“In 2019, we found out that we will take on this project to rebuild a school in Avdiivka. When we arrived, the picture was bleak – everything was bombed – ruins, windows of buildings broken. It seemed that it would be difficult to do anything” – project leader Arturas Žarnovskis shared his first impressions of the challenge that’s waiting ahead, “But this time, when I took part in the September 1st celebration, I felt that something had changed – not only was there a fresh-painted building, but there was also hope, joy, faith. Especially when conditions for children are improving. It’s just a building, but also it’s a symbol that life is getting better.”

Now the school has been reborn, with around 600 schoolchildren enrolled since this year’s autumn and a staff of around 50 teachers. The number of pupils is expected to grow as the modern school can accommodate up to 1,000 pupils.

According to Valdemaras Serapinas, Ambassador of Lithuania in Kyiv, Ukraine and Ukrainians are more than just a foreign country to Lithuania, and bilateral support is significant in many forms. Spoken support is important, but certain projects and specific actions are more tangible and even more appreciated. “I have no doubt that we will continue to do so in the future,” the Ambassador noted.

Vitaly Barabash, Head of the Avdiivka Military-Civilian Administration, welcomed the fact that this project has produced real and substantial results. The cooperation between Lithuania and Ukraine is more meaningful and more tangible here, in the small town of Avdiivka, close to the front line, where shelling was still taking place yesterday. “In my opinion, there is nothing more wonderful than to show to the whole world that the aid is evident. To be more precise, the rebuilding of a school with modern equipment that will be used by little Ukrainians. This has been a very important contribution and we would like to thank you very much for it.” – said the Mayor of Avdiivka.

Although the project to rebuild the school in Avdiivka was launched back in 2019, its implementation has been delayed for a long time due to various technical difficulties. The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a halt to the normal rhythm of life in Lithuania and around the world in 2020, has also brought unforeseen setbacks to the implementation of this project. However, thanks to the efforts and perseverance of the experts of the Central Project Management Agency, all obstacles were overcome, and the results of the project are now being enjoyed not only by the school, but also by the community of the whole town. “This school and its reconstruction – also important from a psychological point of view. The morale of the schoolchildren, teachers and the population has been raised. A school that has been absent since 2014 is now there, and the children have access to something they could not even dream of a few years ago.” – Pavlo Kirilenko, Governor of Donetsk, stressed the importance of the rebuilt school for the city of Avdiivka.

Ukraine is one of Lithuania’s most important partners in development cooperation projects

Lithuania’s development cooperation activities are inseparable from strong bilateral relations, so it is not surprising that Ukraine is one of Lithuania’s most important partners in development cooperation projects. The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian separatists that erupted in 2014 has prompted Lithuania to devote even more attention and support to this region and its people, from humanitarian aid for conflict-affected Ukrainians to civil society and education projects in Donetsk and Luhansk.

The project “Support for the construction of the Avdiivka School No.2 in the Donetsk region of Ukraine and the improvement of the school’s environment” was launched in 2019 and is worth €1 million. It is the largest project initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Development Cooperation and Democracy Support Programme to strengthen bilateral cooperation in war-affected eastern Ukraine, with the aim of strengthening bilateral cooperation and creating a modern educational centre in war-affected eastern Ukraine, which would serve as an integrated model in terms of its infrastructure, equipment and the organisation of the education process, and would be a pilot project for the reform of schools in Ukraine as a region-wide pilot project for schooling and as a centre of dissemination of educational experience.


Kitos naujienos

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.