Make Education not War: campaign to support Ukrainian teachers and their students

GAP International has a rich history supporting the adoption of Education for Sustainable Development in thousands of schools across Ukraine. Today, during these unthinkable times, where Ukrainian citizens are experiencing untold horrors due to Putin’s war, the GAP International community is again working to support Ukraine’s teachers and their students in the extremely difficult circumstances they are facing.

Ukraine, Lessons for Sustainable Development project

Between 2010 and 2015 Global Action Plan International’s partnership project with Teachers for Democracy and Partnership (TDP) trained over 5000 teachers in 1500 schools in Ukraine. The project, called ‘Ukraine, Lessons for Sustainable Development’ engaged 200K+ pupils in a programme of integrated environmental education and provided 100K textbooks to schools across the country. The GAP International ESD project, also worked with 60 teachers from 30 schools in Ukraine, representing 1000+ young people, who are all currently safe as they are in regions that have not been occupied by Putin’s forces.

Supporting Ukrainian teachers and students

Project Update (January 2023)

The Make Education Not War campaign was launched in June 2022. The target was £10.000. Now, nine months later, more than £20.000 has been raised. Many thanks to all donors, great and small.

A new target

But the campaign does not stop. In 2023 the goal is to quadruple the size and the impact of the program. Therefore a new target of £50.000 has been set.

What was accomplished in 2022?

25 teachers from 14 regions in Ukraine took part in:

  • 12 weekly only Community of Practice sessions for exchange and experience and methodological support
  • 12 weekly only Trauma sessions with a trauma therapist, to enable teachers to cope with their own and their pupils’ traumas.

Each teacher held 7 weekly online sessions with 10-15 students on:

  • Their integration into a new environment and culture,
  • Social emotional learning including critical thinking, and
  • Sustainable development

These activities involved 25 schools, 300 students and 300 families.

This was made possible by:

  • a group of dedicated teachers, in Ukraine,
  • volunteer experts from Ukraine and EU countries in trauma therapy, pedagogy and education for sustainable development, and
  • £8.000 raised through this crowdfunding campaign.

What is planned for 2023?

The goal is to quadruple the size of the program and its results:

  • At least 100 teachers, representing 100 schools,
  • Each teacher participating in 7 weekly online Trauma Support sessions = 21 online Trauma Support sessions,
  • Each teacher participating in 7 weekly online Pedagogical Support sessions = 21 online Community of Practice sessions,
  • Each teacher organizing at least 10 online Saturday Team sessions with 10 to 15 students, and
  • Reaching up to 1500 students and their parents.

The Story

The children are really scared of the war… But they continue to engage in online lessons, teach poetry, solve problems, and even exercise. We teachers are also scared, because we hear what is happening. But we keep up, smile and say hello, “Good morning, we’re from Ukraine,” because sometimes half of the class’s children work from abroad or from remote villages… Let it be online, let it be from abroad, but learn!

– Natalia, teacher of Ukrainian language and literature, May 2022

Global Action Plan UK is part of an international network of charities aiming for a thriving planet with caring people and resilient societies. We are working with staff from a former partner organisation in Ukraine, Teachers for Democracy and Partnership, who are co-ordinating efforts to provide practical and psychological support to teachers still in Ukraine, in turn enabling them to support their refugee pupils.

There are two primary needs:

* Support to deliver lessons online, and manage the psychological impacts of the trauma for themselves and for their pupils

* Tablets/computers (with software, chargers and internet connectivity) for those who can no longer access their home or school so they can continue to teach their pupils.

We have the network and the experience – please help us get this up and running!

“Today was an amazing day, I conduct the class during air alarm… I was greatly amazed to see 21 from 30 students. 5 of them were in shelters, other are in the villages or abroad. I have amazing students! They want to communicate, they opened their cameras, they were active.”

– Olena, a chemistry teacher in Ukraine, April 2022

Further detail:

Global Action Plan International’s Ukrainian associates are now leading efforts to directly support a cohort of 60 teachers from 30 schools that remain open in Ukraine, working with them to co-create an integrated package of support for those teachers and their pupils who have been displaced. Teachers are crying out for this critical education support, which is likely to include:

Saturday schools: for displaced young people, many of whom will be enrolled in schools in a different country. A series of Saturday schools on topics such as critical thinking, open communication, integration into a new community, diversity as a resource and other topics and content developed to respond to teachers needs.

Drop-in support sessions: formal and informal sessions to enable teachers and – critically – young people, to connect, share experiences, ask questions, and benefit from the support of and connection with their peers and fellow Ukrainians.

Trauma support: there is an immediate need for trauma support for teachers, both for themselves and to enable them to support their pupils. A second step would be to offer, through the teachers, access to similar, professionally facilitated online group support for pupils, both those in Ukraine and those who have fled.

Facilitated teaching support: additional guidance and pedagogical support provided for online/remote teaching, especially via smartphones.

Website and learning resources: development of a dedicated space on the Transform Our World website as a central place for teachers and their pupils affected by the war in Ukraine to connect, collaborate and access a range of educational resources.

“”We continue to teach as we did in quarantine, but with the suspension of the lesson at the request of the air strike siren. The war has made adjustments to the lives of teachers, but it does not stop the learning process… The question ‘Why?’ The students were interested in the history teacher’s explanation of the situation in the country. While in the cities of Western Ukraine, Poland, Germany, and Sweden, they continued to be interested in the answers to the question ‘Why?'”

– Chemeris, a history teacher forced to flee Ukraine, May 2022

How you can help:

We are calling for donations to support the work of this campaign that will go directly to supporting Ukraine’s teachers and their students. Donate at:

Your contributions will directly help Ukrainian teachers and their student with the following:

Contribute to production of materials for teacher and pupils €15+

Fund internet access and software licences for one teacher €10

Fund a Saturday school lesson for up to 20 pupils €40

Fund professional support for up to 10 teachers for one month €450

Provide trauma support for up to 10 teachers for a month €480

Purchase of a laptop or tablet for a teacher that does not have one €500