Peremoha Grantee Stories: Supplies for school basement turned shelter

Friday November 17, 2023

Peremoha is the Ukrainian word for Victory.

The Peremoha Mini-Grants program was launched in the summer of 2022 in response to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers can apply together with a Ukrainian partner they worked with in some way during their service. Funding priorities for the program include humanitarian aid to Ukrainian communities, and projects in alignment with sectors previously implemented by Peace Corps Ukraine: community development, youth development, education, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. We are proud to share with you the stories of the Alliance’s Peremoha grantees.


 RPCV: Claire St. Amant, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, 2008-2009

Ukrainian Partner: Oksana, School Headmaster

Region: Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast



As of November 2023, there are nearly 3.7 million internally displaced people in Ukraine (UNHCR Flash Update). Many of these people have children who require schooling, which means that schools across Ukraine need to provide for potentially hundreds of new students.

Claire served in a small town of about 9,000 people in western Ukraine, which took in a number of displaced people fleeing the war. There is only one school in the town. It provides education for kindergarten through high school. With a staff of 100 people, the school is one of the primary employers in the town with strong ties throughout the community. The school has about 900 students, which means 11% of the town’s population uses the school for education or for their work.


A festive day at Claire’s school.

Children and teachers are continuing to work and learn in very difficult conditions. They frequently lose power and have limited access to reliable heating. During air raids, children need to stay in the basement for their own safety. Attacks on civilian areas of Ukraine are again increasing – the UNHCR’s latest Ukraine Situation Update notes an increasing number of attacks on both civilian areas and energy sector facilities as we head into winter. In fact, on November 2nd, 2023, Russian forces conducted more than 118 bombardments in Ukrainian towns and villages over 24 hours – the highest daily number of attacks in the year thus far – with both frontline and non-frontline areas affected (UNHCR Flash Update).

Given the risk of attack, the town’s children often spend hours at a time in the school basement. Therefore, it is necessary to provide them and their teachers with a way to cook food, a projector to enhance education, and medical supplies in case there is a medical emergency while underground. Claire and the headmaster of her school, Oksana, used Peremoha grant funds to help the school create a better learning environment for students while they continue to learn in the school’s basement. These supplies are important in case of blackouts; people will have a warm place to sleep and are able to cook food when they need to stay underground for hours on end.


  • $590 in grant funds were used to purchase a projector. Students can now watch various educational video programs and even cartoons while they sit in the shelter for hours on end.
  • $275 was spent on medical devices for the shelter. These are important in case of  illness or accidents. These medical devices include different types of bandages, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, etc.
  • $615 was spent on 5 sleeping bags, 10 seat caremats (mats to ease foot and leg pain when standing for long periods of time– often used while cooking), and a portable gas stove for making food in the shelter.

Pictured: First aid supplies and portable light


Pictured: Projector, sleeping bags, caremats, gas stove with fuel

Claire is currently working on a new fundraiser with Ukrainian Action to purchase laptops and printers for her school. The campaign will run December 1st -31st, 2023, to raise $3,000. Click here to read more about her campaign.

Photo taken during Claire’s service. Note the message written in English on the blackboard: “Claire! Thank you very much!”


If you are interested in doing a partnered campaign with Ukrainian Action, you can find instructions in the third content block of our May 2023 Alliance newsletter.

Through the purchase of Babusya’s Kitchen cookbook and your generous donations, you enable us to continue to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine and fund projects like this one to help protect Ukraine’s future.

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