Student entrepreneurs teach a community how to sustain school
Kindergarten has been found to be one of the most critical learning experiences a child can have in order to ensure success in school and life. For the children of Maidan, a small rural village in Ukraine, access to kindergarten had become economically impossible. The villagers simply didn’t have the resources to sustain a kindergarten, and travel to neighboring villages was equally cost prohibitive.
The Enactus team at Vinnytsya National Technical University took on the challenge of identifying ways to help this community establish and efficiently operate a kindergarten. After analyzing the issues, they discovered if operating costs could be minimized without sacrificing learning, a kindergarten could thrive. That meant an acceptable building would have to be found at the right price and the everyday cost of operating that building – from electricity to heating – would have to be lower than the norms.
They started by helping the villagers facilitate an agreement to take over and transform a vacant building owned by the state. Once the facility was secured, the Enactus team developed a series of more efficient solutions to running the school. They installed a previously unconsidered heating technology that was substantially cheaper than traditional units and that would reduce building heat loss by 15 percent. A new lighting system was also added to reduce the school’s energy use by 20 percent. Finally, a village fund was created to purchase materials and supplies.
The “Kids First” project has successfully removed barriers to a quality education for youngsters in Maidan village. By reducing the cost of a heating unit from $26,750 to $6,800 and decreasing energy bills by almost $1,000 annually, this team helped create a thriving school where 37 children are now able to attend kindergarten and 10 professionally skilled people are able to be employed full-time.