$13,157 collected for Slovakia school serving Ukrainian refugees
By David Mayernik Jr,, Editor
Ľuba Kráľová, principal of Kolysočka–Kolíska, a school for kindergarten students in Presov, Slovakia, had considered closing its doors due to lack of funding.
Now such an extreme measure won’t need to be taken after parishioners at St. Gregory in Upper St. Clair, Pa., along with other individual contributions from the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, raised $13,167 to fund the school.
After visiting the school last summer and seeing it was serving Ukrainian refugee children alongside Slovak and Rusyn students, Father Valerian Michlik, pastor of St. Gregory in Upper St. Clair, Pa., knew action had to be taken and a collection began.
The kindergarten received the money Dec. 22 via wire transfer.
Principal Kráľová wrote a letter to St. Gregory thanking all donors. It is published on page 3.
She said the funds will support the kindergarten and pay for salaries, Social Insurance Fund contributions and health insurance for two Ukrainian teachers from Dec. 2022 to June 2023.
“Your financial assistance will subsequently help us to keep our temporary Ukrainian classroom operating and employ two Ukrainian teachers who will teach our Ukrainian children in accordance with the Ukrainian educational program,” she wrote.
“Until your recent contributions, we had started thinking about closing this class after the New Year.”
Kolysočka–Kolíska opened its doors to Ukrainian students and their families on June 1, 2022.
Principal Kráľová wrote more than 30 children have attended the Ukrainian class, nine of which are currently enrolled as of Dec. 2022.
The building was renovated and donated by the Slovakian government and is about 45 minutes away from the border with Ukraine.
Prešov 12. 23. 2022’
Dear Parishioners of St. Gregory’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your incredibly generous financial donation for OZ Kolysočka–Kolíska. Today, on December 22, 2022, €12,073.17 (after wire transfer fees), exchanged from your $13,167, was deposited into our account. We appreciate your gift immensely and thank you on behalf of those that are most affected by your efforts. Typically, our school services are for the children of Ruthenians from almost all of northeastern Slovakia, but starting on June 1, 2022, after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we now also support Ukrainian children, the children of refugee women and refugees from Ukraine, who now temporarily live in Prešov or near Prešov.
Your financial donation will mainly be directed towards supporting the activities of the Kolysočka private kindergarten located at 68 Solivarská Street, in Prešov, which was established by the Kolysočka–Koliska Community Association on September 1, 2021. Additionally, it will help to pay for the salaries, Social Insurance Fund contributions, and health insurances of two Ukrainian teachers from December 2022 to June 2023, if the war in Ukraine lasts until the end of June 2023 as we currently assume it will. Until now, the activities of our Ukrainian class, starting on June 1, 2022, has been supported only by private persons or private organizations. Support from the Archdiocesan Charity in Košice and other individual donations have allowed us to open our Ukrainian classes and operate in full capacity for the last three quarters of the year.
For the Slovak Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, the establishment of SMŠ Kolysočka/became a stumbling block that further strained and prevented them from sending the already promised subsidies from the European structural funds (dedicated specifically to children from Ukraine, the children of refugees temporarily living in Prešov, and more specifically, our kindergarten.) The ministry reported that since we were operating in this educational capacity for a short, intermittent period, they would send us state subsidies for each Ukrainian child. With this in mind, we opened our first class for these children in our kindergarten on June 1, 2022. So far, more than 30 children have attended our Ukrainian class, 19 of which are currently enrolled as of December 2022. The fluctuation of Ukrainian children is due to a variety of factors including parents returning to Ukraine, others moving further into Western Europe, and the remaining children advancing to the first year of primary school. However, the Slovak Republic, through the Ministry of Education, has not yet sent us these authorized subsidies, although they were promised to all primary and secondary schools accommodating children of Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia as of March 2022. We consider these obstructions by the Ministry of Education to be absurd, but there is nothing we have been able to do. We have also contacted the media, but so far nothing has changed from the Ministry’s side.
Your financial assistance will subsequently help us to keep our temporary Ukrainian classroom operating and employ two Ukrainian teachers who will teach our Ukrainian children in accordance with the Ukrainian educational program. Previously, we had been financing our class of 20-30 Ukrainian refugee children from our own resources and other private resources for more than half a year, and for our small civic association, maintaining these operations without outside help has been an unsustainable activity; until your recent contributions, we had started thinking about closing this class after the New Year.
So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you once again for your great financial support. For our OZ Kolysočka – Kolíska, it is the highest financial aid to date that has been addressed to us by private individuals.
With gratitude, regards, and respect,
Principal of Kolysočka–Kolíska