Ukrainian school to open in Brussels centre after Easter holidays

Ukrainian school to open in Brussels centre after Easter holidays
Ukrainian refugees in Belgium.

Two Brussels women with Russian and Ukrainian roots, Maria and Kira, will open a free and bilingual school for several dozen Ukrainian children in the Rue Belliard after the Easter holidays.

The building where the school will be is located on Rue Belliard 4-6 and was found thanks to the network of Maria, who signed a temporary agreement with the owner, reports Bruzz.

"When you travel from family to family, the school has to become the anchor point," Maria told the newspaper.

The school can stay in that location for at least six months, after which Maria hopes for structural financing to develop a structural operation. A few weeks ago, Maria and Kira posted a call for volunteers to come forward and help with the school, which is being called Vesna – a word that means 'spring' in Ukrainian, Polish and Russian.

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They were looking for a location that is close to the metro, making it easily accessible from all corners of Brussels. Initially, Maria expected about 30 to 40 pupils, but that number can still grow; the capacity is about 100 pupils.

The multilingual school starts from the philosophy that children do not have to leave behind their cultural and language baggage, and that their free schools and child centres can help them with transition and integration.

"It is better to build on the knowledge that a child already has when they arrive here. That is why we consider Ukrainian lessons so important, but they will also be taught other languages such as French and Dutch," Maria added. In case the children return to Ukraine after the war, it is also useful to maintain their native language.

Knowledge centre

The school will work with mixed-age classes, and an after-school club for Ukrainian pupils who are already enrolled in a Belgian school but who want to maintain their mother tongue is also organised. Finally, the school also wants to function as a knowledge centre.

"We have more than 50 experts in our network, from psychologists to teachers teaching the Ukrainian language," she said. "We would like to share their expertise with local schools that have questions about their Ukrainian pupils."

The exact opening date of the school is not yet known, but it will be "not long after the Easter holidays." The last day of the holidays is on Monday 18 April (Easter Monday).

Registering a child for classes is possible via this link (in Ukrainian). Registering as a volunteer is also still possible, via this link (in English).


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