Tent Schools International

Letters from Bucha: teachers working amidst conflict send stories of struggle and gratitude

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine forced students and staff at Academy of Wisdom in Bucha to scatter and later regroup as they resumed classes. Here are notes of thanks from two of the teachers you’ve supported, Inna Favorska and Nellya Bulatova.

My name is Inna Favorska, and I would like to share my experience as a teacher during the war, and thank those who have helped our school.

When the war started, the students I taught were finishing 3rd grade. Due to constant attacks, my husband and I temporarily moved abroad. We did not know the language, we knew no one there, and we had only enough money to live one month without work. We were worried about what to do next. 

Our school was closed for two weeks, and I thought we would not be able to resume work because our city was occupied. I also assumed I would not be able to work because of displacement. But thanks to our administration, our school began to offer classes online and I was able to work with my wonderful students.

I didn’t want to leave my class because the war is stressful for them, if they had a new teacher it would be even more stressful. I really wanted to help my students survive these difficult circumstances and finish elementary school together. My students graduated this year, and I am glad I had the opportunity to be in touch with each of them throughout the process. I am grateful for the fact that I was given a laptop from which I could conduct lessons every day. 

Thank you to the TSI donors who responded with help for our school and financial support for our teachers. Your help cannot be overestimated, especially in times of war. May the Lord bless you! All Ukrainians are going through difficult circumstances, but I believe that thanks to God and caring people, we will be able to survive this and return to a peaceful life.


(Photo above: Inna Favorska with students in Bucha)

I am Nellya Bulatova, a teacher in Bucha, and I would like to thank everyone who helped us during this difficult period in our country’s history. During the academic year 2022-2023, I had the opportunity to lead the first class of 16 children within the walls of Academy of Wisdom since the war began. Before, our entire school studied remotely with only the the youngest students having the opportunity to study in person.

I enjoy working with children. Their trusting smiles and eyes motivate me to continue. This year, our work was mixed with anxiety and sheltering drills. My students posed numerous questions about the war and its conclusion, to which I honestly replied that I did not have an answer, but that I had faith in God. We read the Bible, analyzed and reflected, and I’m glad the kids have learned to pray and believe.

Since the war began every Ukrainian has faced despair, but human kindness and compassion help us feel we are not alone on this planet. In the midst of our difficult situation when people lack work, housing, and hope, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity to work and live on the school grounds. Thank you so much to our wonderful TSI donors. You are God’s children who have served us with all your hearts! Teaching would simply not be possible without your support. We pray for God’s protection, good health, and wisdom in this worthy cause.


(Photo above: Nellya Bultova)

Our Light the Fire year-end campaign for 2023 will deliver safe schools to
displaced children in Jordan, Lebanon and Ukraine.

Academy of Wisdom, Ukraine – 2023

"Every Ukrainian has faced despair, but human compassion helps us feel we are not alone."
- Nellya Bultova

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