CNN: Ukrainian startup is bringing school to displaced students

Educational IT company helps Ukrainians deal with the challenges created by Putin's war

Parija Kavilanz
Friday, 06 May 2022 18:58

Russia's continuing assault in Ukraine has devastated the country and the lives of millions of its citizens. The youngest among them — Ukraine's children — have been robbed of the ability to attend school and learn in a classroom, sitting next to their peers and friends.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. UNICEF estimates that more than 4.5 million people, primarily women and children, have become refugees in neighboring countries. Several million more are domestic refugees, with more than 50% of them children, forced to flee their homes to seek shelter in safer parts of the country.

The ongoing warfare in the country has already damaged over 1,000 learning institutions and destroyed over 100 schools, according to Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science.

Inna Maksymenko and her team at ed-tech and gaming startup Keiki are particularly sensitive to the plight of Ukraine's displaced children and their loss of access to education. Maksymenko is co-founder of the company she founded in Kyiv in 2019. Keiki makes both free and subscription-based educational apps (pricetag is $5.99 to $69.99) that feature cartoons for infants and learning games and puzzles for children between the ages of 2 and 5.

The startup idea, she said, was inspired by her mother who was a kindergarten teacher for many years.

"The world has changed and so many kids are on mobile phones now. We thought how can we then help them to use the phone to keep learning and get ready for when they begin school," she said.


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