The national chain of shopping centers “Epicentr” continues to allocate significant resources to social projects and the restoration of sports infrastructure, joining the reconstruction of Lyceum No. 3 in Irpen. During the offensive of the occupying forces in February and March 2022, fierce battles were fought in the Kyiv region. Satellite cities of the capital, such as Bucha, Irpin and Gostomel, suffered daily from a flurry of rocket and artillery fire. Chaotic bombing led to the destruction of not only military infrastructure, but also residential areas and educational institutions. According to the testimony of the director of the Irpinsky Lyceum No. 3, Stanislav Fedorov, in just one month of hostilities on the territory of the Lyceum, 40 air strikes were counted, 10 of which hit the building of the educational institution directly. Before the full-scale invasion, the lyceum was one of the most exemplary educational institutions in the Kyiv region. About 1,500 children studied there, there were more than 20 sports sections and classes of the social and sports school of the “Real Madrid” foundation, which is developed by the “Epicenter for Children” public organization. The latter oversees the entire network of schools of the “Real Madrid” foundation in Ukraine, in which about 800 children study. And in the Irpin Lyceum alone, she took care of 50 students from socially disadvantaged sections of the population. As a result of the destruction caused to the institution during the hostilities, it was impossible to continue the work of the lyceum, and hundreds of millions of hryvnias were needed to restore it. Fortunately, the lyceum managed to attract both international funds and charitable organizations, as well as large Ukrainian business, to the restoration project. In particular, the chain of shopping centers “Epicenter” and the NGO “Epicenter for Children” undertook the complete restoration and re-equipment of the sports component of the educational institution. The ceremonial opening of the lyceum after reconstruction was attended by First Lady Olena Zelenska, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Oksen Lisovyi, head of the Kyiv Regional State Administration Ruslan Kravchenko and mayor of Irpenya Oleksandr Markushyn, as well as co-founder of the Epicenter K company Halyna Gerega. “Four years ago, the public organization “Epicenter-Dityam” started a unique project for Ukraine here, launching a social and sports school of the “Real Madrid” foundation. Our goal was to give hope to the children who need it most. And today, opening the school again, after how it was destroyed and rebuilt, I feel even more the importance of our mission. Because today we give hope not only to those who study here, we demonstrate to all of Ukraine that our spirit and desire to win cannot be stopped. May this lyceum and social – the sports school of the “Real Madrid” foundation will become a place where the champions and leaders of our tomorrow are born,” Galina Gerega said during the opening. With the financial assistance of “Epicenter”, the lyceum was equipped with new sports grounds and simulators in less than two months. Two mini-football fields measuring 26 by 14 meters, one large football field measuring 60 by 40 meters with a grandstand for more than 50 seats, a basketball court measuring 30 by 18 meters and a running track 200 meters long were installed. Next to the fields, there are tables for playing the currently popular tekball, a strength fitness zone with modern simulators for general physical training, and a playground for various types of martial arts (taekwondo, judo, boxing, karate, horting, free fight and aikido). For comfortable and safe training of the children, the football fields were equipped with artificial grass, and the basketball court, running track and simulator areas – with a softened rubber-polyurethane coating. It is no less important that in addition to sports classes, students of the social and sports school of the “Real Madrid” foundation will be able to participate in psychological rehabilitation, various groups, intellectual games, electives in English, etc. In this way, children from the socially vulnerable strata of the population will be able to recover from the horrors of war as soon as possible. “From the first days of the war, we provided psychological and later material support to our students in Irpen. The children survived the occupation and other horrors of the war, so it is very important for us to see their smiles now. The reconstruction of the lyceum symbolizes both the restoration of the educational sector and the city of Irpen itself , whose history of occupation and heroic struggle has spread all over the world. So we are very happy to join this project and plan to further develop the network of schools of the Real Madrid Foundation in Ukraine,” says Taras Gerega, vice president of the Epicenter for Children NGO. We will remind that the social and sports school of the “Real Madrid” foundation, which has been represented in Ukraine by the NGO “Epicenter for Children” for more than 5 years, started its activities in Irpen in 2019. In addition to Kyiv region and the capital itself, the foundation’s schools operate in Ternopil and Khmelnytskyi region. Children from socially vulnerable categories of the population study there: half-orphans, children from low-income families, from risk groups, internally displaced families, etc. In general, the social and sports schools of the Madrid club take care of children from socially vulnerable families in 80 countries. However, Ukraine became the only country in the world that received the status of a strategic partner from the “Real Madrid” foundation and the right to open not one, but as many as four schools. It is worth noting that the full restoration of the lyceum in Irpen became possible thanks to the broad involvement of international funds and business. In particular, the UNICEF Foundation allocated funds for construction works, the Children’s Fund Germany ChildFund Deutschland financed furniture for classrooms, the non-governmental organization terre des homes – Germany provided funds for equipment for the dining room and classrooms, and the Israeli IT company AppsFlyer allocated computer equipment to provide two computer science offices. Ukrainian organizations also provided important assistance to the educational institution: charitable funds “Yellow and Blue Wings” and “Children’s Centers of Ukraine”, HUB “Generation UA”. They helped with complex humanitarian support, involvement of international partners, local organizations and volunteers, humanitarian aid and rehabilitation of teachers and students of the lyceum, etc. In addition, the public union “Osvitoria” joined the restoration of teachers’ rooms for teachers of senior and junior schools, as well as chemistry, biology and physics offices. In general, the restoration of the Irpinsky Lyceum is a vivid example of effective collaboration between Ukrainian and foreign businesses, charitable organizations, and international foundations. An example that symbolizes the unity of Ukrainians from completely different spheres of activity and the unity of the European community in the issue of support and post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.
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