European Union and UNDP restore two war-damaged schools in Zhytomyr

Over 1,000 schoolchildren are now able study in more comfortable conditions after the “EU4UASchools: Build Back Better” project carried out extensive repairs to school infrastructure and provided new equipment.

November 21, 2023
Photo: Leonid Shevchuk / UNDP in Ukraine

Zhytomyr, 21 November 2023 – In a significant step towards improving the quality of education in war-torn Zhytomyr, two local lyceums, No. 26 and No. 1, have been repaired thanks to a joint European Union - United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project.

The schools, severely impacted during the first hours of the full-scale war, underwent extensive renovations as part of the "EU4UASchools: Build Back Better" project, facilitated by UNDP and funded by the European Union.

The work on the reconstruction of Lyceum No. 1 included replacing the roof, repairing the attic and classrooms, eliminating cracks, and installing paving around the building’s foundation to protect it from rainwater runoff. At lyceum No. 26 the roof and 125 windows were replaced, and foundation side paving and a drain were installed.

In addition to the repairs, the project will soon equip the schools with furniture such asdesks, chairs, blackboards, and bookcases  to provide a comfortable learning environment for students. Today, the directors of the lyceums were given certificates in order to obtain furniture.

The European Union allocated EUR 218,614 (UAH 8.59 million) for the restoration of Lyceum No. 1 and an additional EUR 170,453 (UAH 6.69 million) for Lyceum No. 26. This funding reflects a deep commitment of Ukraine’s partners to restoring normalcy and educational excellence in the region. Thanks to the renovation of these schools, over 1,000 students can embrace the joys and challenges of in-class learning.

UNDP Resident Representative Jaco Cilliers said that during the war, children in Ukraine have often lost their right to a full education, as they are forced into online learning or, worse, they lose access to education entirely. 

“The international community is committed to restoring schools and reigniting the educational process in Ukraine, ensuring every child has the opportunity for quality education and the invaluable experience of learning alongside their peers," Cilliers said. 

Claudia Amaral, Head of the EU Humanitarian Aid Office in Ukraine, said that prioritizing the restoration of educational infrastructure is at the heart of the European Union's efforts in Ukraine. 

“Our goal is to transform these, and many others schools around Ukraine, into safe and comfortable environments for every child, thereby fostering the resumption of effective learning” Amaral said. “Witnessing the return of numerous children to their schools today fills me with immense happiness and hope."

Yuriy Denysovets, deputy head of the Zhytomyr Regional State Administration, highlighted the impact of the war on the region's educational infrastructure. "From the outset of Russia's invasion in February 2022, Zhytomyr region faced severe shelling, with more than a hundred educational institutions being damaged, and some children being prevented from attending school for over a year,” he said.

“We’re immensely thankful to UNDP and the EU for their support in rebuilding our schools. Ensuring our children continue to learn and receive education during these challenging times is crucial for the future of Ukraine."

Media enquiries:

Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: