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Obama Scholar Oksana Matiiash on the Anniversary of the War and the Plight of Education in Ukraine
February 26, 2024

Oksana Matiiash, Obama Foundation Scholar and CEO of Teach For Ukraine, reflects on the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the impact on education.

Picture yourself as a Ukrainian parent. Your child, almost ten, has spent the early years of their education in a global pandemic and war. Your deepest desire is for them to attend regular classes rather than learn in a bomb shelter. Doubt about sending them to school weighs daily on you. Yet, you want them to learn and grow despite the war.

Now, step into the world of a ten-year-old Ukrainian child. The experience of attending school seems foreign, as most of it has been unfolding in the digital realm. Focusing on reading is a formidable task, and you need help solving basic math. Yearning for more friends and extracurricular activities remains your constant wish. You also deeply miss your father, who left to fight the Russian forces and hasn’t made contact in over two months.

Read the essay in Medium.

Photo by Teach For Ukraine. Borodyanka, Kyiv region, June 2023.