Monday, March 10, 2008

My Pipe Dream

Hello again!

I’m writing today to tell you about the biggest project of my Peace Corps service here in Ukraine, and to ask for your help. The goal of my project is getting running water for my school.

(First plug for the grant website:

I’ve written a Peace Corps Partnership Grant with the school director and my coordinator for the installation of eight sinks in our school. There is currently no place for the children, ages 5 through 17, to wash their hands all day. Only about 20% of our students have plumbing in their homes. During the flu season, it generally takes just ten days for an infection to spread from a few students to 30% of them, at which point the school is required to close down for a week and a half.

We want to install three sinks in the school building for older children, three in the building for younger, and two in the building where they eat breakfast and lunch every day. The cost of this project is $9,628. School community members, local organizations and the district methodological center have agreed to contribute $4,454 – nearly half the cost of the project – including in-kind donations of materials and transportation.

The grant has been approved by Peace Corps Washington, and there is now a website set up to accept tax-deductible donations. A PC Water & Sanitation Fund, created for projects like mine, will provide $1,500 to the project. That leaves $3,674 to raise in order for the project to be completed.

This would be the first major repair our hundred-year-old school has received in over twenty years. It would make an enormous difference in the lives of the children and teachers there now, and in the lives of those who will come after.

Any help that you can give us, even a donation of 10 or 20 dollars, would be greatly appreciated! Please visit the grant website (again, at: to check it out, and if you have friends or family members who might be interested in helping as well, please let them know about it!

Members of our school community are incredulous that American organizations and individuals they’ve never met would donate money to help create a better learning environment for their children, improving their lives. This project would provide a memorable legacy for Peace Corps' presence in the village, and for the generosity of Americans in general. I also hope that my grant will inspire other PC Volunteers in Ukraine to attempt similar projects, because despite the need in many Ukrainian schools, the grant I’ve written is the first of its kind for PC Ukraine.

This blog is usually for cute stories about my zany life here in Ukraine, so I hope you’ll forgive the serious digression. Even if you’ve never met me, and have just come across my blog by chance, I hope you’ll consider donating! (And thanks for reading!)

Thank you for any help that you can give us! I miss you all, and hope you’re doing well . . .

Love, Virginia

P.S. Here are some pictures: my 5th graders, and other students at “Last Bell,” the ceremony for the last day of school . . .


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