Two Years of War in Ukraine

Resilience, Reinforcement and Recovery

ORT America and its partners have provided essential aid to the ORT Ukraine community in response to the continuing war. This includes emergency financial assistance, uninterrupted education whenever possible, crucial psychological support, emergency response training, and food and equipment supplies.

While the challenges they face are tremendous, our students, teachers and their families continue to show courage and resilience. This is in large part due to your unwavering commitment.

As we move into year three of the crisis, we still need your generous support  to meet the ongoing, urgent needs of our ORT family in Ukraine. This includes the capital needs of our schools, financial assistance, mental health resources, continued education, and  reserve funds for other emergency needs.


The Current Situation

In Kyiv and Odesa, students and teachers have resumed in-person classes but face constant disruptions and potential danger every day. Schools have transformed into safety zones, with bomb shelters becoming a grim yet necessary feature. In Zaporizhzhia, just miles from the front line, in-person school is impossible, so many students continue to learn online whenever possible. In Bila Tserkva and Chernivtsi, students are learning in person and the situation is relatively calm, but the state of uncertainty is constant.

Due to the war's ongoing humanitarian catastrophe and infrastructure damage, emergency needs have evolved into a sustained routine, and we need your continued support to meet these and other urgent challenges as they arise. Currently, we estimate that over $1.5 million is still needed to address these needs through the end of 2024.

The conflict's impact on the education and mental health of our ORT Ukraine community is profound and far-reaching. It is extremely difficult to imagine the daily reality of our Ukrainian families who, after enduring sleepless nights in bomb shelters or less secure areas of their homes, must still go to school or work the next morning.

Supporting our ORT Ukraine family at this critical time is essential for the future existence of the Jewish community.

ORT Simha School Shelter classroom, Ukraine
A classroom in the shelter at the ORT Simha School in Kyiv, Ukraine.
ORT students learning in a school shelter, Kyiv. ORT Simha School.
Young students in the shelter classroom at the ORT Simha School.
ORT Simha students wearing fleece jackets to keep them warm. Ukraine
ORT students wearing fleece jackets to keep them warm.

ORT's Impact to Date

ORT Ukraine teachers participating in a therapeutic workshop in Odesa.
ORT Ukraine teachers participating in a therapeutic workshop in Odesa.
A shelter set up as a classroom in Odesa, Ukraine.
A shelter set up as a classroom in Odesa, Ukraine.
Online Hebrew lessons.
Online Hebrew lessons.

Your Support is Urgently Needed

Recurring Needs – Monthly expenses for meals, professional security, and generator maintenance through the end of the school year.

Equipment for Schools and Bomb Shelters - Upgrades and replenishment are needed due to infrastructure damage and power surges. This includes tables, chairs, mats, blankets, air conditioners, air purifiers, mattresses, warm clothing, and other necessities.

Repairs for ORT Schools and Shelters - Shelling and shockwaves have caused extensive damage, particularly to our schools in Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia. Urgent repairs are needed for roofs, supporting walls, windows and drainage systems.

Financial Assistance - Salary reductions for teachers have been significant. Many teachers’ wages have been lowered dramatically this year, and some are forced to teach extra hours due to limited shelter space, as students learn in two shifts.

Ongoing Trauma Counseling - Qualified professionals are needed to address the psychological needs of students and teachers traumatized from prolonged exposure to the stress of war.

Continuing Support for Jewish Education - Since February 2022, the Israel's Ministry of Education has withdrawn its teachers from Ukraine. This caused a considerable reduction in the number of Jewish educators in our schools, resulting in combined and shortened classes.

Support for Students with Special Needs - The war in Ukraine has strained government resources, reducing funding and support for students with special needs. All six ORT schools in Ukraine accommodate students requiring specialized assistance.

Emergency Preparedness - In addition to the above needs, ORT must have funds available in case of catastrophic or unexpected events.

A Critical Time

Students at the ORT School in Zaporizhzhia with gifts of laptops from generous donors.

Students at the ORT School in Zaporizhzhia with gifts of laptops from generous donors.

For 143 years ORT has responded in times of crisis, pivoting to provide not only uninterrupted education but whatever urgent resources our students, teachers, families and schools need to persevere. Our communities are filled with brave and resilient children and the adults who care for them, and they are made stronger by your dedication and commitment to their future.

Thanks to the support of our donors, ORT is able to respond to the urgent and ongoing needs of our ORT family in Ukraine, including the capital needs of our schools, financial assistance, emotional and trauma support, uninterrupted education, and the reserve funds needed to address unanticipated needs.

"Your Efforts Have Been Invaluable"

A Message from Raisa Sherbatuk, Hebrew Language Teacher

Raisa Sherbatuk, Odesa Hebrew Teacher

Raisa Sherbatuk, Hebrew teacher at Odesa ORT Jabotinsky School #94, conducting an online class.

“My name is Raisa Sherbatuk. I have been working as a Hebrew teacher at Odesa ORT Jabotinsky School #94 for many years. 

“The conflict has disrupted our classroom activities and significantly strained students and educators. Frequent air raid alarms disrupt the teaching and learning process, adding an additional layer of anxiety.  

“Before the war, there were five Hebrew and Jewish Studies teachers: now we are only two. We have had to merge classes and reduce Hebrew lessons for some grades from three per week to two.  

“My workload has increased dramatically. I now teach 36 lessons every week – seven or eight a day with no breaks. Additionally, I need to provide extra classes for new students, distance learning students and those who are behind. 

“I want to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to ORT supporters – your efforts have been invaluable, not only to me but also to our entire school community. Thank you for standing with us during this challenging period.”