Securing Education: Lithuania and Taiwan Built Advanced Bomb Shelter in Irpin

21 June, 2024

On June 19th, the community of Irpin unveiled the newly completed anti-radiation bomb shelter at kindergarten No. 9 in Kozyntsi near Irpin. Lithuania and Taiwan are behind the EUR 500,000 project, which provides children and staff with a necessary equipped bomb shelter for 90 people, ensuring the kindergarten remains operational.

The previous basement, used as a shelter, was constructed in 1983 as part of the main building. It was not adapted for civil protection functions and did not meet the requirements for this type of premises.

“The old shelter was very primitive: a basement lacking adequate ventilation, water supply, and drainage, with only one exit, which is dangerous in case a strike causes rubble to fall and block the way out. During long-lasting air alarms, children had to spend extended periods in a stuffy basement, eat, and sleep there. The high humidity caused even children’s blankets to become damp,” explained the kindergarten director, Olga Tarashenko.

The project aimed to transform the existing basement of the kindergarten into a fully equipped, safe, and comfortable shelter with anti-radiation protection. Now it meets modern safety standards and provides children with a secure and stress-free environment. The premises are fully equipped with everything necessary: bathrooms for children and adults, replacing the previous need for bio-toilets, a sports corner, a nurse’s office, and a kitchen. The bomb shelter features child-friendly furniture and educational and recreational equipment.

The visit of Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, the Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament, graced the opening ceremony. The community, parents, children, and local government officials shared their emotions and hopes for a secure and peaceful future for the children.

“Commencing reconstruction efforts now, without waiting for Ukraine’s final victory, reinforces the country’s resilience. It is crucial that civilians return to normal life and feel safer as swiftly as possible. Lithuania remains steadfast in its support of Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts and pledges to continue this support for as long as it takes. I encourage other countries to join us in taking a more active role in reconstruction projects in Ukraine,” states Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.

The kindergarten serves not only Kozyntsi but also children from villages 3-5 km away. According to the kindergarten’s director, the new shelter will protect children and provide a friendly space to learn and play, even when air raid sirens are on. She emphasized that parents can now work with much more peace of mind.

“Since the total invasion of Russia on Ukraine in 2022, the determination of defending their own country, as well as the courage and resilience demonstrated by the Ukraine people has deeply moved the Taiwanese people. Taiwan has been providing its unwavering support for Ukraine. Some of the projects were implemented in close partnership with Lithuanian’s CPVA. The advanced bomb-shelter project serves yet another example that Taiwan cares and Taiwan can help.

One of the reasons that we’ve been focusing on rebuilding educational facilities is that we believe children are the future of the country. Their rights for education should be secured at any cost. With the opening of this facility, we seek comfort in assuring the rights for education of 90 children won’t be disrupted by war, or at least in the minimal possible way. We thank the government of Lithuania for working closely with Taiwan. Our gratitude also goes to the professional and hard-working staff members of CPVA for realizing this project, despite all the difficulties,” says Representative Constance Wang of the Taiwanese Representative office in Lithuania.

The project, implemented by CPVA, was completed in just five months — four months ahead of schedule.

The kindergarten director noted that, in light of the ongoing war, some children currently stay abroad in various countries. She suggested that the presence of a shelter and a safe space for the little ones might influence the parents’ decision to return.

“Helping to ensure the safe education of children is a priority for Lithuania’s recovery projects in Ukraine. This is not CPVA’s first project in this domain. Previously CPVA already renovated a shelter in Ruta kindergarten and built the first standalone bomb shelter for the rebuilt Borodianka school. Currently, CPVA implements the EU-Lithuanian project to construct new bomb shelters in high-risk areas. We are happy that the children of Kozyntsi will now have this safe place to learn and grow,” stated Anna Moliboha, CPVA representative in Ukraine.

Lithuania finances Ukraine’s reconstruction projects through the Fund for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid.


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