Seven-year-old Danyyil Kamoza is one of thousands of Ukrainian children who have never been taught in a classroom; his first year of school has been at home, online.
The Kamoza family are from a village in Sumy region in the northeast of Ukraine, 10km from the Russian border. Their once peaceful village came under relentless attack, and Russian forces have repeatedly targeted the region since the war began.
Danyyil's mother, Vira, 44, said, "Since the beginning of the war, we've all been living in fear, and we've been in danger of our lives. The children took it especially hard. They became scared of any loud sound, and at night, they would wake up crying and couldn't be comforted.
"A shell fell just a few meters from our relatives' house. The neighbor's house burned down. We couldn't stand it anymore and left for a safer place."
The Kamozas moved to Rivne region in western Ukraine in the summer of 2022. Although it is relatively safer here, displaced families like the Kamozas face many challenges, from low wages to unemployment – as well as fear of Russian attack.
Many parents also worry about their children's future, as more than 7.5 million children and 1.5 million young people have had their education affected by the war. Many students, including Danyyil and his siblings, are learning online from home. However, issues such as poor internet connectivity and lack of in-person interaction with teachers and peers can make it challenging to stay engaged.
Since the beginning of Russia's large-scale invasion, more than 3,000 educational institutions in Ukraine — 10 percent of the total — have been damaged or destroyed, according to the Ministry of Education. School buildings are at risk of shelling or lack of heating after massive damage to the country's energy infrastructure, and not all of them have bomb shelters in place to be allowed to remain open.
Vira said, "I want my children to be educated and to have the chance of a normal life in the future. Here, they have to study online using mobile phones. Their eyes get very tired, and I'm concerned their eyesight may deteriorate. It's difficult for children to concentrate because there's no contact with the teacher. The teachers understand they cannot expect too much from children, as many are emotionally traumatized and constantly under stress."
In February 2023, the Kamoza's path crossed with Mission Without Borders, and they have received regular support ever since. Pavlo, the MWB family worker, encourages the parents and children to persevere with education despite their challenging circumstances. MWB consistently provides emotional, spiritual, and material support to the Kamozas, alleviating their burdens and giving them strength to persevere.
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