The third stage of the P.AGE project, dedicated to restoring the potential of children from the de-occupied territories of Ukraine, is underway. We deliver sets of 50 Ukrainian-language educational books on topics relevant to young people (development, history, science, art, growing up, patriotism, etc.) to libraries of schools and communities affected by hostilities or occupation.
So far, 12 libraries have received sets of books from B50. This became possible thanks to the support of people from all over Ukraine and the world. For example, the purchase of literature for the Ivankiv Public Library was sponsored by employees of Melexis-Ukraine. And a volunteer from Khmelnytsky, Nataliia Paliychuk, joined the purchase of books for the library of Kherson secondary school No. 39 «Школа-родина» (“School-Family”).
Nataliia tells about her decision to join the book fundraising and about her acquaintance with B50 and P.AGE:
I often saw on the news how russians in the newly occupied Ukrainian cities burned Ukrainian literature and renamed Ukrainian settlements. This made me realize how important our language and history are. That’s why I wanted to share books in my native language with people (note: who survived the occupation) so that they would know who they are, realize their identity, be proud of their ancestors, see how many wonderful people there were among Ukrainians and not believe the propaganda.
I found out about B50 simply by googling “social book project” and your organization was the first one that fascinated me))
Nataliia raised funds among her friends (in particular, she held a raffle of her own painting )))) to purchase books from the B50 list) and donated additional fiction to our 50.
About her fundraising experience and impressions of “book” volunteering:
The campaign lasted about 2 months. At first, I tried to raise books and money through Instagram and Facebook, but not many people joined in. Then I decided to be more decisive and wrote to bookstores and my friends in person. That’s how I managed to collect books and 600 UAH. I received feedback from several people that there are a lot of fundraising events now and people are tired. So I decided to encourage them with something material. Since I am an aspiring artist, I decided to paint a picture that would appeal to most people and encourage them to donate.
When the painting was ready, I recorded a video message with the terms of the drawing and launched a fundraising campaign for 10 thousand UAH for 7 days. This time, my video was shared and donated very quickly. People wrote me words of gratitude, they were very inspired by the fact that these funds will go to the children of the school from Kherson, I told the story of the occupation of the school and emphasized the importance of these books for the development of local children. In 7 days, I managed to raise almost 11 thousand UAH and raffle off my painting.
With the money we received from Nataliia, we bought books and sent them to Kherson for Volunteer Day and St. Nicholas Day.
Let’s talk about the library of Kherson School #39, which became a participant in the third stage of P.AGE.
Kherson Secondary School No. 39 “School-Family” is located on the outskirts of the city, 5 km from Antonivskyi Bridge and 10 km from Chornobaivka airfield. The school building itself was miraculously not destroyed, but it is located exactly between these two points of constant shelling.
The russian army seized Kherson on March 1, 2022. In March, Kherson residents organized protests. But the russians shot at their legs and threw gas grenades. So the locals stopped going out and walking. During the referendum, no one appeared in the city for three days. In some districts, collaborators went door-to-door with russians, forcing people to vote at gunpoint. To leave the city, you had to stand in lines at checkpoints.
During the occupation, children studied online. However, not everyone had the Internet and the connection was lost.
On November 11, 2022, the Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated Kherson, ending the eight-month occupation and raising the Ukrainian flag over the city!
Before the invasion, 380 children studied at school No. 39, and afterwards – 450 (the number increased due to IDPs). Currently, the educational process is taking place remotely due to the threat of shelling, which takes place in Kherson almost every day.
The school and library are very active. There is a Museum of Ethnography and Rural Life, and a club called ” Local Ethnographer” where young guides meet with school students and guests. Students are constantly involved in charitable activities, including the Marathon of Good Deeds campaign.
Only 25% of the library’s books were published after 2004, and most of them are textbooks. There is a great lack of fiction and educational literature in the Ukrainian language. We are confident that the literature collected and donated by the B50 community together with Nataliia Paliychuk will diversify and improve the library’s collection!
Wishes from Nataliia Paliychuk to the children who will read books from the P.AGE project:
To the children who will read these books, I want to wish them, first of all, faith in our Victory and the bright future that awaits them, because in fact, our people are fighting now so that our children will not have to fight in the future. I want to wish them resilience in these difficult times and faith in themselves, so that these books can help them become more educated, teach them to be humane and merciful. I want them to be proud of our ancestors, to admire them, to follow the example of the indomitable strength that runs through our veins. I wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Together to Victory. Glory to Ukraine!
Join our wonderful P.AGE project, sponsor a library with your colleagues or friends, because every book donated is a step towards raising a new generation of educated and conscious Ukrainians 😊