Inclusive Space in Boarding Schools

Votes Received: 448

Changing the world is never easy. But active citizenry and students from the Kharkiv area are working to change the living space of adults and children who have spent their entire lives in Ukraine’s notorious boarding schools. Thus, on the territories of the Komarivsky Boarding School and the Rzhavets Psychoneurological Boarding School new fruit orchards have begun to appear.  


Boarding school residents in Ukraine are often restricted in their movement, spending the bulk of their time indoors in their rooms or on institution grounds. The depressing, grey atmosphere of those grounds isn’t very conducive to enjoying a walk outdoors. The idea behind the Inclusive Collaboration project, funded in part from the Active Citizens programme, was to change that.

It meant replacing outmoded and uncultivated landscaping with new flower beds, laying out new orchards to contribute to the stress therapy for residents and provide them with motivation to care for their new garden. Local volunteers could only dig up smaller areas but where they were able to work, they put in new flower beds, replacing gradually the berry bushes that had taken over the space.

Students set up a regimen, oversaw the gardens that winter and with spring arrived at plant trees and the new flower beds. All the tree saplings were provided by an art collector from Poltava who had heard about the project. That winter, each school took charge of the maintenance of their grounds.

Due to the efforts of the Association of Young Scientists of Kharkiv Polytech National Technical University and volunteers from the Adults For Kids Charitable Foundation, these boarding school residents were guided in making a gradual integration into the broader society. Students observed the difficult living conditions of these special needs adults and children who had been abandoned by their families and shunted aside by society. The volunteers got experience in project fundraising and the city of Kharkiv got an education on these neglected internet grounds.

Next on the group’s agenda is to plant a rainbow-pattern flowerbed sporting a top hat on the territory of the Rzhavets boarding school and to plant evergreens on the grounds to establish a special microclimate for the institution.


1. A clear action plan with identified deadlines, assigned areas of accountability and designated assistants.

2. The existence of “Plan B” in the event of missed deadlines. All elements involved – people and objects – must be capable of adapting to new circumstances and/or alternative uses.

3. Legal and financial support in order to strictly control expenses.