Today in Ivano-Frankivsk we held the opening ceremony of the new Saint Nicholas Day Care Center. On the feast day of our patron saint according to the Julian calendar, we officially inaugurated the operations of the place, which continues the tradition of our educational day care center in Mariupol, which had been operating since the beginning of 2019 until March of this year.
We opened the first Saint Nicholas Day Care Center in 2019 in Mariupol in eastern Ukraine. At the time, the city by the Sea of Azov was a refuge for many Ukrainian families fleeing the occupied territories - the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. At the Day Care Center, educational and integration activities, psychological assistance, as well as first aid training were carried out on an ongoing basis. Using funds from private donors, we bought a minibus to transport children with disabilities to classes, and renovated toilets for schoolchildren in the city's largest elementary school. We also launched a scholarship program for children from the poorest families, and during the COVID-19 pandemic we distributed packages of necessities to the most disadvantaged families. We organized trips for children during vacations and winter vacations. Our center very quickly became an important place for the local community, activists and volunteers. Furthermore, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, in 2021 we provide psychological assistance and counselling for children and adolescents as part of the day care center. From the beginning of our activities in Mariupol, we also supported children from two local orphanages. After Russia's aggression against Ukraine, our day care center became a distribution point from which aid was distributed to residents of the besieged city. After the Russian invasion of Mariupol, the day care center was completely destroyed and its defenders were killed. We immediately launched aid programs in other parts of Ukraine, as well as in Poland, to help the children who fled to our country.
Today we officially opened the Saint Nicholas Day Care Center in Ivano-Frankivsk, a city that has become a place for many families and entire organizations fleeing the east of the country in search of shelter. For the past few months, the Day Care Center had been operating in a temporary location, while renovation and construction works were underway in the intended building. The new premises opened on Saint Nicholas Day in Ukraine, and will serve children affected by the war.
The spacious and comfortable premises offer caregivers everything needed to care for the youngest victims of the war. In addition to basic sanitary and kitchen facilities, the center includes:
- a separate, soundproof room for psychological consultations and individual therapy;
- a small stage for presenting the artistic performances of the young pupils;
- a large room for playing;
- a workshop room for youth with equipment for training in carpentry and tailoring;
- a professional sound system;
- a memorial space dedicated to the Santa Claus Day Care Center in Mariupol.
A great advantage of the new Day Care Center is its view of the park and the lake. There are green areas all around, so children and their caregivers will also be able to spend a lot of time outdoors. The official opening of the Saint Nicholas Day Care Center in Ivano-Frankivsk was attended by the director of the Saint Nicholas Foundation, Joanna Paciorek, and Karol Grabias from the foundation's team.
The Saint Nicholas Foundation plans to rebuild the Mariupol Day Care Center after the city's liberation.
Project co-financed within the framework of Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland