The FJC’s Eastern Ukraine refugee relocation program has been running around the clock for the past year and a half finding new communities and homes for thousands of Jewish refugees affected by the war. While the peace treaty which began in February is still formally in effect, most have not returned to their homes due to the continuing violence.
One city which has taken in approximately 400 refugee families is Zhitomir in Western Ukraine. The Jewish community, together with FJC, has taken care of all the refugees basic needs upon their arrival, a vast operation supported by the IFCJ headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. One such example is the immediate registration of refugee children into school to provide a sense of normalcy and routine.
Before the crisis, the FJC’s ‘Or Avner’ Kindergarten in Zhitomir provided a complete Jewish and general education to the children from the local Jewish orphanage and the low income families in the surrounding countryside. Since the start of the crisis, the school has taken in more and more refugee students bringing classroom capacity to the maximum. No child has been refused placement in the school, however there is currently a serious lack of space.
A new crowd funding campaign on GoFundMe is now being launched, to fund a much needed expansion of the city’s kindergarten. The FJC has three months to raise $28,500 to build an additional room for a new group of 20 Jewish war refugee children from Eastern Ukraine, ages two to six.
In their new school, students will benefit from a well-rounded curriculum of Jewish education and secular studies, as well as speech and mental health therapies. They will receive full dental health care and three hot meals every day. Children who have families to return to will receive food packages to bring home each month.
As we see consistently in our schools across the FSU, three meals a day, a stable and loving environment, and a good education gives children the foundation they need to overcome their circumstances and succeed in every way.
Please visit our crowd-funding campaign at => https://www.gofundme.com/jewishukraine