Ukraine News: Children find cell phone signals, set up schools

On a desolate, windswept hillside in northeastern Ukraine, three boys recently made a discovery—a discovery that is helping them return to school to a daily routine disrupted by war.

Mykola Dziuba lives in Hontarivka, a small village in eastern Ukraine, an area that was still occupied by Russia at the start of the school year in September. A Ukrainian counterattack recaptured the area a few weeks later, but the school Dziuba’s schools are still learning remotely, a difficult prospect for many students due to damaged electricity grids across the country.

However, while Dziuba and two friends were wandering a hill in their village, they discovered something rare and elusive under months of brutal Russian occupation.

A cell phone signal. It’s weak, but enough.

So they started building a place to stay out of the weather and connect with their teachers online.

Dziuba told Reuters they built a makeshift hut out of sand, rope, plastic sheets and stumps.

Using mobile phones, they can join online classes and connect with their teachers. Sometimes they sit on it for hours, he said, but other times it’s too cold to stay long.

School director Liudmyla Myronenko told Reuters she admired the children’s desire to learn, adding that it was clear the children had dropped out of school.

The kids were sent workbooks and using their homemade school and cell phone signal, they were able to transmit their work.

Their small tent and phone signal quickly attract others, including adults separated from friends and family, desperate to make contact.

It has been eleven months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Missile attacks by Russian forces on critical infrastructure in Ukraine have plunged much of the country into periodic blackouts.

Dziuba’s mother, Vira, told Reuters that the tent and cell phone signal were an opportunity for people to try to connect with people outside their village, to see if friends still lived in the regions. other of Ukraine or not.

It’s all thanks to three boys, a little bit of plastic and wood, a precious cell phone line, and a thirst for learning that even war can’t stop.

With files from Reuters and`s Alexandra Mae Jones


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