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Yuri Milner’s Tech For Refugees Helps UNICEF USA Support Education for Ukrainian Children

Yuri Milner’s Tech For Refugees Helps UNICEF USA Support Education for Ukrainian Children

It’s been more than two years since the escalation of war in Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The country’s children and their families have faced displacement, loss, and violence. Additionally, disrupted schooling has led to a learning crisis amongst Ukraine’s younger generation. The war’s impact on education remains a serious concern.

In June 2023, Yuri Milner’s Tech For Refugees partnered with UNICEF USA, the United Nations Children’s Fund, to support education in Ukraine. UNICEF helped over 1.45 million children inside Ukraine access education in 2023. The organisation also helped 1.26 million refugee children access education in their host countries.

Ukraine’s Education Crisis

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell describes education as “a pillar of hope, opportunity, and stability in children’s lives.” Unfortunately, education remains “out of reach” for millions of Ukrainian children.

Across Ukraine, 40% of children have been unable to attend school consistently for two years. In regions directly affected by conflict, half of all school-age children are not in education. The latest data reveals an average learning loss of two years in reading and one year in maths amongst Ukraine’s children.

Moreover, more than 2,300 primary and secondary schools that the conflict has damaged or destroyed remain closed due to safety concerns. This situation leaves almost two million students reliant on various forms of online learning.

UNICEF works to mitigate these effects for as many children as possible. Throughout 2023, the organisation helped more than a million Ukrainian children access education (including early learning) in formal and non-formal settings.

As part of this support, UNICEF:

  • Helped improve the All-Ukrainian School Online platform.
  • Distributed laptops to students.
  • Opened digital learning centres to increase access to education for more children.

Tech For Refugees Grant Enhances UNICEF’s Education Initiatives

A Tech For Refugees grant has enabled UNICEF to further support children’s education in Ukraine. In 2023, UNICEF finished refurbishing 65 educational facilities, benefiting 35,000 children.

The organisation also issued school supplies to over 684,000 children and donated cash grants to 968 hub schools. Many of these schools have used the grants to buy teaching materials and conduct building repairs.

Supporting inclusive education is an important goal for UNICEF. The organisation has helped create a new national strategy and action plan for making schools welcoming and inclusive for all children. The organisation also trained over 5,000 teachers on inclusive education. UNICEF continues to ensure schools, resource centres, and local governments work together for better schooling.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has expanded its UPSHIFT programme to help teenagers and young people develop life skills. Thousands of young people have already benefited from the programme. In addition, UNICEF has helped set up dozens of youth centres, encouraging young people to get involved in their communities and support their peers.

About Tech For Refugees

Tech For Refugees supports humanitarian programmes that leverage technology. The initiative partners with leading tech companies and non-profits to support refugee relief efforts in Ukraine and other crisis zones around the world. Current Tech For Refugees partners include Uber, Welcome.US, Spotify, Flexport.org, and Airbnb.org.

Devastated by the suffering of the Ukrainian people, Giving Pledge signatories Julia and Yuri Milner founded Tech For Refugees in spring 2022. The couple’s Breakthrough Foundation provides vital funding to Tech For Refugees’ programmes.

The Breakthrough Foundation supports several charitable, mainly science-related projects. These projects include the Breakthrough Prize, Breakthrough Junior Challenge, and Breakthrough Initiatives.

Many Tech For Refugees programmes focus on the war in Ukraine. Other programmes support victims of the 2023 Turkey earthquake, people in the Horn of Africa displaced by famine, and communities fleeing the flooding in Pakistan.

Learn more about Tech For Refugees’ programmes.

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