Druzhnia kindergarten “Strumochok” is the next participant in the project to transform children’s bomb shelters

Recently, the B50 volunteers from the Reconstruction and Shelters projects have finished transforming the shelter of the Zavorychi Gymnasium, had a little rest and are now joining forces again to help children! For the next stage of work, we have chosen 2 objects in the Bucha district, located next to each other. This will allow our teams to work simultaneously at two locations and, accordingly, save time.

The first facility is the Druzhnia pre-school education institution (nursery-kindergarten) of the combined type “Strumochok” of the Borodianka village council of Kyiv region.

Druzhnia is a small village on the outskirts of Borodianka, which had about 1,800 residents before the full-scale invasion. At the end of February 2022, the russians entered the village. There were many of them and, according to the locals, they were angry, cruel, and violent, in short, they were themselves.

The occupiers were looking for military personnel, pointing tank barrels at houses, killing people and not allowing them to be buried. In particular, a primary school teacher of the local school was killed by them. In addition, the enemies ruled the village, expelled residents from their homes, took food from cellars, patrolled the streets, and frightened people. They stayed in Druzhnia for 33 days, and when they left, they burned down a store and a dozen houses.

During the occupation, more than 200 people were hiding in the bomb shelter of the Druzhnia facility. Among them were small children, the elderly and people with disabilities evacuated from Borodianka.

Victoria Burmistrova, the director of the preschool, who turned to B50 for help in arranging the shelter, spent the entire occupation in this basement. She recalls that people lived in the rooms of the gloomy basement for so long that they began to call the shelter areas by the names of the capital’s districts. Thus, the vestibule with exits to different rooms was named “Maidan”, and the large hall where we will start our work is called “Troieshchyna” (by the way, this is the district of Kyiv where B50 was founded and where many of our volunteers live).

Below is a photo of the “Troieshchyna” large hall.

According to the director, the russians came to the kindergarten, but fortunately did not stay there. Instead, they occupied, looted, and almost destroyed the village library. They left behind piles of garbage and burned books. We know the situation well from the stories of participants in another B50 project, P.AGE. Thanks to local residents and volunteers, the library was renovated and turned into a modern space for children and adults.

The B50 community will help to renovate the kindergarten’s shelter. Currently, 94 preschoolers study at Strumochok, but students from Druzhnia Gymnasium also use the shelter while their school is undergoing reconstruction. Therefore, the shelter is very much needed.

The kindergarten itself is in good condition; before the full-scale invasion, it was renovated, with beautiful play areas and flowers planted on the territory. It is a great place for children to grow up. But the basement needs to be repaired and decorated to serve as a bomb shelter for preschoolers.

Given the increasing number of air threats and the fact that schools and kindergartens are often targeted by russian attacks, the institution needs a safe and comfortable shelter. We will turn this basement into a place where children will enjoy spending time, learning, playing, and socializing.

The shelter consists of many rooms and technical areas. We will start with one large room so that the children can stay in the other rooms in the meantime, as the classes last until the end of June. Our tasks are to repair and decorate 2 large rooms, 2 small rooms, a vestibule and technical areas.

Below is a photo of the second large room.

The following tasks await the B50 volunteers from the Reconstruction project in the Strumochok shelter:

  1. Elimination of significant wall defects, defects in doorways, smoothing out uneven walls.
  2. Preparation of walls for painting.
  3. Preparing the ceiling for painting.
  4. Painting the walls.
  5. Painting the ceiling.
  6. Providing equipment for the lighting system.
  7. Installing doors where necessary.
  8. Decorating pipes.
  9. Zonal arrangement of the floor.

After that, volunteers from the Shelters will start working, decorating the areas with murals and drawings so that the children have a children’s space that is not associated with war and fear. When the team of artists starts their work, we will tell you what theme they have chosen and what they have planned.

At this facility (as well as at all the previous ones), we aim to create a multifunctional useful space, because we hope that this room will not always be used to protect against missiles and drones. Thus, the first large hall is currently used for sports and dancing. The administration of the kindergarten plans to continue such activities in the basement even after the end of the invasion.

The renovation of the Druzhnia kindergarten bomb shelter will be made possible, in part, thanks to the support of the Prospero World. The foundation was founded in 2007. It currently supports charitable projects around the world. Its goal is to promote positive change through education, collaboration, and action through its Adoption Program and philanthropic expertise. The grant from Prospero World will allow us to purchase the necessary building materials for repairs and paint to decorate the shelter.

We are grateful to the Prospero World team for the support of the B50 community, as every grant provided by B50 is a help in the recovery of Ukraine.

The first “repair” trips of volunteers from the Reconstruction project are scheduled for next weekend, May 25-26. The team will begin preparatory work in the shelter and paint the ceiling in the first large hall. Trips are planned every weekend. There is plenty of work for everyone, so join in! No experience is necessary.

You will also soon be able to join in to help with the Shelters project. When the Reconstruction team prepares the walls for murals and drawings, volunteer artists will start working in the Strumochok kindergarten and in the shelter in the village of Mykulychi, which we will tell you about later.

So if you want to try your hand at decorating children’s shelters, join the trips with B50. Registration information will be posted on the website, social media and B50 channels. You can also write to the B50 telegram or to the artwork coordinator Polina Koruts.