Keep The Kids Learning

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My name is Joseph Nichols. I have been working on engineering projects in Ukraine for nine years, mostly in the Kyiv and Lviv regions. Though mostly self-funded, this fundraiser began almost seven months ago and has collected over $11,000USD in U.S. donations, medical supplies and equipment, hygiene products, desks for students, and school supplies. It has also allowed us to pay a small stipend to teachers that the ongoing conflict has displaced.

We are a grassroots organization, operating in Ukraine with local and expat volunteers. The focus of our work is supporting Internally Displaced People (IDP's), people that have been forced from their homes and cities but do not have refugee status. Through programs like KEEP THE KID'S LEARNING our teams offer daily social support, in addition to basic medical and dental care, teacher support, and safe places to stay warm. In the past year we have delivered solar generators, water filtration kits, power banks, medicines, wound care supplies, medical equipment, and more.

As of 01 March, 2023 over 300 schools have been destroyed and over 1000 damaged in the year-long war.
In total, more than 300,000 children currently face limited access to education at the beginning of the 2023 school year.
There are over 8 million internally displaced people (IDP's) in Ukraine, primarily women and children. It is estimated that there are over 10 million refugees - people that have left the country.

We know that children are affected by disruptions in social interaction and long-term isolation in multiple ways. Cognitive skills are impacted, as is behavior, and essential abilities such as speaking and problem-solving are negatively impacted. The effects of war - loss or separation from family and friends, displacement in the community, fear and hopelessness must be mitigated during the conflict. We need to do all we can to keep their minds active with positives, to foster interaction and a sense of "normal" (even a small one). Just a couple of hours of respite a day can be a massive gift to these innocent kids, their parents, and their future.
We continue to raise money to purchase computers, books, and supplies. In addition, our operation has established eighteen learning centers in Lviv, Chernihiv, Ternopil and Rivne for children displaced by the conflict.
I am already making trips to deliver medicines to the region and have connected with many teachers ready to devote the necessary time and energy. The number of children being forced to move is growing daily, and I know what I am going to do is a drop in the bucket - but dozens of others are doing it, and hopefully, in the months to come it will grow. All donated funds will go to purchase equipment and supplies - 100%.
Thank you for reading my story.
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Joseph Nichols
Billings Metropolitan Area, MT

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