The big mission of the B50 Growing program is to increase the capacity of communities affected by the russian invasion. This will help them overcome post-war challenges more effectively, recover faster, and reach a qualitatively new level of development.
Currently, the program includes the P.AGE project, aimed at developing the potential of children from the de-occupied territories of Ukraine, restoring and replenishing libraries with modern-quality literature, and fostering a reading culture among young people.
P.AGE project in 2023
P.AGE provides children with accessible tools for self-discovery and self-realization, for exploring themselves, others, the country, the planet and the universe. These tools are sets of 50 books selected by our consultants. Each such “literary collection” is a small library for child development and contains everything a child needs to know to find answers to questions that arise during growing up.
The set includes books about finding one’s calling (about professions and hobbies) and one’s field (about art, space, technology, anatomy, engineering, geography, etc.), about self-knowledge and self-respect (psychology for children and inspirational biographies), books aimed at developing independent thinking and necessary skills (about financial literacy, critical thinking, politics, history), and books on topics that children are often embarrassed to raise (about growing up and relationships).
The book set consists of books for different age groups, for example,Private Needs Explained to Kids. Let’s Talk It Out with Parents and Without tells primary school children about the basics of hygiene and anatomy; The Girls’ Guide to Growing Up and The Boys’ Guide to Growing Up are designed for teenagers; Get Over Yourself. For Teenagers Who Want to Learn to Take Control of Their Lives or Respect. A Girl’s Guide to Getting Respect & Dealing When Your Line Is Crossed will help high school children learn to control their feelings and respect themselves.
Last year’s achievements of the P.AGE project in numbers:
P.AGE project started with the Bohdanivka Lyceum, whose building was completely destroyed by russians during the occupation of the Kyiv region. In the fall of 2022, the institution returned to work in the format of an educational center, which was located in a former house of culture. The bomb shelter was built in a neighboring residential building (this particular shelter was decorated by B50 volunteers).
The educational center began to create a new library (the old one burned down with the Lyceum). At the time, we were developing the P.AGE project, so we decided to send the first set of educational literature to the Bohdanivka Lyceum.
We immediately realized that P.AGE was needed in many de-occupied communities, as the enemy destroyed, destroyed, and burned everything they could get their hands on, including our literature.
Based on the experience at Bohdanivka Lyceum, the B50 team developed the project, received applications from children’s libraries from all over the country, reached out to leading Ukrainian publishers who provided discounts of 15 to 40% on the purchase of books for the charity project, and set a goal to provide 5 more libraries with our kits at the second, regional, stage and 50 at the third, national stage.
We have also enlisted the support of Nova Poshta, which delivers charitable shipments free of charge as part of the Humanitarian Post project. Therefore, we receive orders from publishers free of charge and can send sets of books received even to the hottest frontline locations in the country.
of books sent
In the second phase of the project, the books were delivered to 5 regions that were most affected by the invasion. Among them were educational institutions in Boromlia (Sumy region) and Kyselivka (Mykolaiv region), whose premises were damaged by russians (windows were smashed, libraries were destroyed, and books were destroyed), and the frontline towns of Krasnokutsk (Kharkiv region), Myrnohrad (Donetsk region), and Kholmy (Chernihiv region), where IDP children study and where there is a great lack of Ukrainian-language literature.
As part of their corporate volunteering, employees of Melexis-Ukraine joined the project, purchasing some of the books on our list and raising funds for the rest. They chose to help the library in Ivankiv village, Kyiv region, which suffered from the russian invasion (the roof was damaged, and many books were “caught by bullets”). Thus, P.AGE has become a great way to involve the entire staff in corporate volunteering and to unite the team.
The sponsors of the books for the next 5 participants of the national stage were mainly philanthropists from abroad. The funds raised through PayPal, Buy Me a Coffee, and Redditusers were used to purchase books for the libraries of the Ripky and Kozacha Lopan lyceums.
The library of the Ripky Lyceum (Chernihiv region) was not damaged by the fighting, but the book collection needs to be updated, as it contains only 30% of Ukrainian-language publications and only 10% of new books (published after 2004).
The library of the Kozacha Lopan Lyceum (Kharkiv region) suffered from the war: the blast wave damaged the windows, and the enemy burned all the textbooks they found.
The books for the next three participants of the national stage were purchased thanks to a donation from US teenagers Max (17) and Yulia (13). The children launched the Lemons for Learning non-profit project, which sells lemonade and other products at children’s lemonade stands for charity, including educational ones. Max and Yulia raised $1,000, which B50 volunteers used to buy books for the libraries of Khrystoforivka (Mykolaiv region), Shandryholove (Donetsk region), and Bilopillia (Sumy region).
In the occupied Khrystoforivka, russians occupied the premises of the local library, where they broke down the doors, broke the locks, damaged windows and furniture, completely destroyed 200 books and reader forms, and left behind a pile of garbage and dirt.
The library of Shandryholove village was completely destroyed by the enemy: before the full-scale invasion, it had 9,238 copies, and now it has only 337 books donated by caring readers. Today, the institution operates in the format of a “library in a backpack”.
The library of Bilopillia Gymnasium No. 5 had all its windows smashed, so it moved to another building. However, the book collection needs to be updated (there are not enough works by contemporary authors).
On the anniversary of the liberation of Kherson, we received a donation to purchase books for the library of Kherson School No. 39. The money and additional literature were donated by Nataliia, a volunteer from Khmelnytskyi, who raffled off her painting among her friends and held a fundraiser.
The building of Kherson School No. 39, located between two points of constant shelling – Antonivskyi Bridge and Chornobaivka – was miraculously not destroyed, but the school library needs to be replenished with new literature, including Ukrainian-language books.
In the last month of the year, the B50 community made holiday gifts to three more libraries – in Marhanets (Dnipro region), Savyntsi (Kharkiv region), and Kiliia (Odesa region). The funds for these gifts were provided by Bundlex, which previously sponsored the reconstruction and decoration of the shelter in Nova Hreblia.
The library of the Marhanets Lyceum No. 9 was damaged during one of the constant shelling (the shock wave broke the windows). The local book collection also needs to be updated (there are only 35% of Ukrainian-language books, and there is a lack of school curriculum and specialized literature).
The building of the Savyntsi Lyceum survived, but the occupiers looted all the computer equipment. Despite the fact that all the books remained on the shelves, the library collection is outdated: only 30% of the 10,648 publications are in Ukrainian, most of them published in the last century.
The library of the Kiliia secondary school is in particular need of Ukrainian books, as the majority of the town’s population is russian-speaking. Currently, the collection lacks fiction, science and history books in Ukrainian.
We regularly receive positive feedback from the institutions to which we deliver the sets of books. Library staff and their visitors highly appreciate the quality of the literature they receive, thank us, and express their hope to participate in a similar project again.
It is always nice to receive gifts. And for a school library, the best gift is, of course, books that are interesting, informative, and on various subjects.
Teachers, students and parents of Kherson School No. 39 are extremely grateful to the B50 community for the books. They are a real treasure for our library; they will help in the educational process, the revival of culture, and spiritual growth and will definitely find their readers.The library of Kherson
school No. 39
The library received children’s literature on history, art, geography, law, economics, self-knowledge and self-realization, for exploring oneself, others, the country, the planet and the universe. This book treasure immediately fell into the hands of schoolchildren. The most interesting book for teenagers was “What is not taught at school.”
We are grateful to the B50 community for such a valuable contribution to our library collection and to the development of our students!The library of the School No.10 of the Myrnohrad
In the last days of 2023, the library of Savyntsi Lyceum was replenished with new copies of educational literature. Picking up the books, students will plunge into the world of history, chemistry, architecture, biology, or geography, or maybe someone will be interested in inventions or programming.
The choice of topics is very wide, so everyone will find a book to their taste. All publications from B50 are informative and interesting.
Thank you for adding to our library collection!The library of the Savintsi Lyceum
As part of P.AGE, we provide libraries with sets of 50 high-quality modern books selected by project consultants. But we don’t limit ourselves to this list – we also send other publications, provided they are in Ukrainian, in good condition, and new (published no earlier than 2004). For example, Olena Kniazeva provided copies of her collection of poems for children, Hanna Ostapenko, an author of educational literature, provided Ukrainian language textbooks, the editorial board of Odnoklasnyk magazine provided sets of their publication, and project consultant Mariia Naumchyk donated books she had collected from her friends.
We have raised UAH 204 896,45 (approx. USD 5420/ EUR 4990) to purchase books for 16 libraries from Ukrainian and foreign donors and organizations.
Yuliia Habdulova, project manager
Appearing almost by accident, this project quickly took its place in the recovery work carried out by B50. We realized that restoring the library collection that was damaged during the invasion, especially children’s literature, is extremely important right now. Buildings and airports can be rebuilt later, but we cannot allow the precious childhood of young Ukrainians growing up during the war to be lost. We need to make sure that even in communities close to the frontline, kids have the opportunity to develop, grow, have access to information, and form critical thinking and self-knowledge. We focused our efforts on this topic by selecting the 50 best books by Ukrainian and international authors. This is a set for the comprehensive development of a child, a mini-library for self-discovery. But a book is also entertainment, an interesting pastime, and a good mood, which is also important for supporting children in frontline communities. Especially when these are new, beautiful and colorful publications created specifically for children.
After implementing P.AGE in Bohdanivka on our own, we successfully conducted fundraising in Ukraine for the next stage and have been able to help 5 libraries. Now, with the experience and confirmation of how this project works and brings results, we are attracting donors from around the world and corporate partners. The next stage is 50 libraries, 10 of which have already received books this year.
We are proud of the work we are doing, and we also understand that this is a kind of “investment” in the future of the country, in children who will soon be an active part of society. We hope this “investment” is not for just one generation. It doesn’t matter how it happens: whether a book from our “50” inspires them to become an engineer or an artist, or helps them to form healthy habits, find a hobby, or cultivate self-respect, these are all small bricks of the future.
2023 was a successful year for P.AGE. In the new year, the project is actively working and developing. The public and donors are interested in it and understand its importance. The plans for 2024 include the completion of the national stage, with 40 more libraries to go, and we continue to receive applications, so it will continue!