Two Brussels women with Russian and Ukrainian origins, Maria and Kira, will open a free and bilingual school for several dozen Ukrainian children in the Rue Belliard after the Easter holidays.
As per reports, 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.
Maria said, “When you travel from family to family, the school has to become the anchor point.”
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.
Moreover, they were looking for a location which 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 a child’s knowledge 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.