Screening of the Documentary About Ukrainian Schoolchildren Held in Vilnius Within the Future School for Ukraine Initiative

21 June, 2024

Ambassadors, educators, business and NGOs representatives, attended the premiere screening of the documentary “We Are U,” organized by the Central Project Management Agency (CPVA) on June 18th at the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius. The event provided guests with first-hand insights from the film’s main heroes and its creators. The screening was part of the Lithuanian initiative Future School for Ukraine, which recently completed an international architectural competition for innovative school designs to be built across Ukraine.

The documentary screening aimed to raise awareness and engage the international, educational, and business communities in supporting Ukrainian children’s right to education.

“Today, in some parts of Ukraine bomb explosions are more frequently heard than the laughter of children. Despite that, new schools, kindergartens, and other educational institutions are being constructed, and those destroyed are being rebuilt. This is a one more sign our faith in Ukraine’s victory. We believe in Ukraine, and we trust that the strength of combined efforts from both the public and private sectors will accelerate our assistance even further. The future of Ukraine’s children, as well as how our children perceive us, depends on our actions. I hope that our efforts will be seen as a victory of humanity against a barbaric Russia,” said the vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Simonas Šatūnas.

The event spotlighted Lithuania’s efforts in Ukraine’s education recovery. Oksen Lisoviy, the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine emphasized in his remote address the importance of Lithuania’s consistent real-time support in restoring access to education during wartime and beyond. 

Produced by NGO savED, “We Are U” tells the stories of Ukrainian teenagers and their mentors. Three of the film’s protagonists, Myroslava Trofymchuk, Sofiia Onishchenko and Darii Kuzminskyi, as well as Anna Novosad, co-founder of the savED foundation and Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine (2019-2020), attended the screening in Vilnius.

“This film is our attempt to depict russia’s war against Ukraine through the eyes of children, not to evoke pity, but to showcase the resilience and courage of the young generation. “We Are U” tells the stories of five Ukrainian teenagers from different Ukrainian cities, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kahovka, Lviv, each facing their own challenges of the war. However, despite this, they continue to pursue their goals and create projects to help Ukraine recover.

With this documentary, we want to tell the world that young Ukrainians will create a great future for Ukraine. However, to achieve this, we, as adults, must ensure their right to education even amidst the war,” says Anna Novosad.    

Ukraine’s education system faces unprecedented challenges due to the ongoing war, with approximately 900,000 students forced to study remotely and significant learning losses, already estimated in billions of dollars. According to the 2022 PISA study, there is a nearly four-year gap between the learning achievements of urban and rural children, while some fourth graders never visited offline schools.                         

The “Future School for Ukraine” competition aims to develop high-quality adaptive school designs to restore educational institutions efficiently. These designs will be freely available to Ukrainian communities and international partners for building new schools across the country.

“As a result of the war, one in seven schools in Ukraine has been damaged or completely destroyed. This means that the problem is enormous and we need to scale our efforts. This project will make it possible to restore Ukraine’s school system swiftly, efficiently, and importantly, with high quality,” said Artūras Žarnovskis, Head of Co-create Future of Ukraine.

The exhibition of the Future School for Ukraine competition presents 15 projects, with the winner to be announced in July. The projects can also be viewed online, on the Future School for Ukraine website. 

Initiated by the Government of Lithuania, the project is managed by the CPVA in partnership with the Ukrainian Agency for Restoration and the Lithuanian Union of Architects. The Fund for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid allocated  €500,000 for the project. The National Art Gallery partnered in hosting the film screening and the Future School for Ukraine project exhibition.


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