European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska attended the handover ceremony of the EU solidarity campaign “School buses for Ukraine”. More than 370 school buses have been delivered to Ukrainian communities. This solidarity campaign was launched by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska in November 2022.
The school buses were officially handed over to representatives of local authorities from the Kyiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv and Chernihiv regions.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said: “This cruel war has robbed thousands of Ukrainian children of their innocence and childhood. But it will not deprive them of the bright and happy future they deserve. That’s why I am happy that we can help bringing Ukrainian children safely to school. The donation of more than 370 school buses by the Commission and member states demonstrates our joint commitment to the next generations of Ukrainians.”
“Last year, during a visit to the European Parliament, I discussed this with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. And now Ukrainian communities are receiving more than 370 buses. This is a great display of solidarity. This is a path towards our children’s future – theirs and the entire country’s, in the midst of war. This is what school buses mean, this is why they are important,” First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska said.
In the spirit of solidarity and commitment to support Ukraine, the European Commission purchased 100 school buses, worth approximately €14 million. In addition, public and private entities in EU member states donated 271 school buses via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, managed by the European Commission.
Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has severely impacted the education system, leading to the destruction or damage of over 2,800 education facilities, and affecting approximately 5.7 million school-aged children.
In November 2022, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, launched the “School Buses for Ukraine” campaign – a new EU solidarity campaign to support Ukraine and get Ukrainian children safely back to their schools. The Commission called on public and private entities in the EU and beyond to join forces and show solidarity, by donating buses that are essential to bringing Ukrainian children safely back to their schools.
The European Commission’s funding of €14m made it possible to purchase, deliver and distribute 100 school buses, with the support of Solidarity Fund Poland (SFPL). Authorities, cities, regions, and transport organisations from 11 EU Member States (Austria, Czechia, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden) donated 271 school buses, which reached Ukraine through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
In the 2022 State of the Union speech, President von der Leyen announced a €100m package to support the rehabilitation of Ukrainian schools. €66m of that funding was disbursed directly to Ukraine’s budget in 2022 and the rest of the funding was implemented by the Commission’s humanitarian partners on the ground. In addition, Commission President von der Leyen launched two initiatives worth €12m that support childcare reform and trauma-informed care for children in Ukraine.
More information is available in this factsheet.
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