Last week, Estonian woodhouse sector celebrated another milestone as Estonians unveiled a kindergarten in Ovruch, Ukraine. This unique project, a collaborative effort between Estonia’s public and private sectors, aims to assist Ukrainian children who have silently suffered amidst the harsh realities of war.
The modular kindergarten is not only a construction project but also the first official reconstruction project in Ukraine since the beginning of full-scale war. “It is impossible to simply postpone children’s education and return to it when other more pressing issues have been resolved. If we do that, we risk the future of an entire generation,” commented Klen Jäärats, CEO of the Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV). “Therefore, it is especially meaningful that Estonia’s first reconstruction project is a kindergarten. We firmly believe in the future of Ukraine and want to give the children of Ovruch the opportunity to learn, play and communicate with their peers in the same conditions as their peers in Estonia.”
The aim of the project was to swiftly deliver a solution that adheres to European standards and establishes a secure and top-tier learning environment for children in Ukraine. “Additionally, our intention was to establish a precedent, emphasizing the possibility and critical importance of commencing reconstruction in Ukraine immediately.” added Annika Kadaja, CEO of the Estonian Woodhouse Association. “If we don’t start building today, the number of war refugees who never return to Ukraine will increase, weakening Ukraine’s resilience to aggression.”
While Estonian Woodhouse Association initiated the project and offered alternative construction solutions, ESTDEV took the lead in implementing and expanding the project. “Building the structure physically and providing a safe environment for children in extreme conditions is one thing; changing the mindset and ensuring a modern and inclusive learning environment is another,” Jäärats added. Therefore, additional training programs for education leaders and teachers were conducted, along with the implementation of modern educational technology. “The responsibility of Ovruch City Council and “Pääsuke” Kindergarten teachers extends to the future of local educational institutions and the continued development of young children. This ensures that Estonia’s gift to Ovruch’s children goes beyond the physical environment and child-friendly space, laying the foundation for an innovative Ukrainian early childhood education system.”
Considering Ukraine’s needs and the security aspect of an actively war-torn country, speed became the most crucial factor. Factory-produced and quickly installable building modules allows to build high quality and low-operating-cost buildings in a matter of weeks. The first phase of this modular kindergarten took 170 days from contract to key handover, second phase was done within 150 days. As a side note, the construction project included a fully equipped bomb shelter. A total of 63 exterior and interior-finished wooden volumetric units (modules) were delivered, including secured furniture such as kitchen cabinets and sinks.
The kindergarten built by Estonia provides an opportunity for 160 Ukrainian children to learn in a safe and inspiring environment.
The completion of the Ovruch kindergarten was funded by the Estonian government with 4.5 million The Estonian government financed the construction of the Ovruch kindergarten with 4.5 million euros. Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Flanders also supported the construction of the kindergarten and the training of the education managers. ESTDEV managed the project in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and the Estonian Embassy in Kyiv to ensure the rapid implementation of the project in Ukraine.
Construction works, supplies and services ordered by ESTDEV through a series of tenders:
- LLC Creative Architectural Workshop Alliance (Ukraine): 26,666 euros for the preparation of a preliminary project for a kindergarten.
- FIE Mykhailo Ivanov: 13,785 euros for the provision of owner supervision services during Stage I and II construction works.
- Harmet OÜ: two tenders totalling 2,930,158 euros for the design, construction, transportation and set up of kindergarten modules in Ukraine.
- Nordecon AS and its subsidiary Eurocon Ukraine TOV: two tenders as the main contractor for the Stage I and II construction works of the kindergarten and the outdoor area, for a total of 1,261,326 euros.
- Kumer Saag OÜ: 59,510 euros for the production of furniture for Stage I of the kindergarten.
- Datel AS: 3047 euros for presentation equipment.
- Metos AS: 27,824 euros for supplying and installing kitchen equipment for the kindergarten.
- Saloni Büroomöbli AS: 57,987 euros for the production of furniture for Stage II of the kindergarten.
- Artproof OÜ: 5105 euros for wallpaper printing services for group rooms, and Artproof financially supported the completion of the project itself.
Donations from businesses and private individuals:
- Tiit Sild Arhitektuuribüro Sport OÜ: drawing up blueprints for the kindergarten.
- Primostar OÜ: waterproofing materials for the underground bomb shelters.
- Sportservice OÜ: sports equipment for the kindergarten.
- Solarstone OÜ and Sunly AS: 20 kW solar power plant and batteries for the kindergarten.
- Kitman Thulema AS: office furniture for kindergarten employees.
- NGO Eesti Puitmajaliit: general project support.
- Kohila Lasteaed Sipsik: the partner kindergarten in Estonia that has provided training to Ukrainian kindergarten staff. The residents of Kohila also collected money to buy educational supplies and arts and crafts materials for the kindergarten.
- Tallinn Meelespea Kindergarten: developed a new methodology and materials to teach kindergarten children how to give first aid, and translated the materials into Ukrainian.
- LeLu gaming sofas: soft sofas for gaming.
- Harmet OÜ: purchased additional kitchen equipment.
- Private person Madis Sander: collected donations and donated musical instruments and sound equipment for the kindergarten.
Look how the kindergarten was produced and delivered to Ukraine: