Getting Ukrainian children safely to school
Education is a cornerstone of our future. Safe access to school is paramount, as it gives children a sense of normalcy and is essential for their welfare and future. Yet it is exactly this access that has been jeopardised by Russia’s unjustified aggression, with an estimated 5.7 million school-aged children in Ukraine experiencing disruptions to learning. Indeed, Russia’s missiles have destroyed or damaged thousands of Ukrainian schools, and as a result millions of children face far longer distances to go to school. That is why the EU launched its “School buses for Ukraine” campaign.
Solidarity campaign to donate buses
In November 2022, the Commission, together with First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, launched the “School buses for Ukraine” solidarity campaign. It called on public and private entities in the EU and beyond to join forces and show solidarity, by donating buses that are essential for bringing Ukrainian children safely back to their schools.
On 4 November 2023, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv and together with the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, attended the handover ceremony of the EU solidarity campaign "School buses for Ukraine", delivering over 370 school buses to Ukrainian communities.
100 school buses, worth approximately €14 million, have been purchased by the Commission, while authorities, cities, regions, and transport organisations in 11 EU countries donated 271 school buses via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Ongoing EU support
Europe has been supporting Ukraine from the beginning of Russia’s unjustified aggression. Europeans have opened their hearts and homes to more than 8 million Ukrainians who have fled Putin's bombs, including more than four million Ukrainians who asked for temporary protection in the EU Member States. European schools have welcomed hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children. Despite the destruction and sacrifices, Ukrainians are looking to the future with confidence and hope. And this future starts with making sure that schools are open and that children can access them.
In her 2022 State of the Union address, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced a joint initiative with the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, on the rehabilitation of damaged Ukrainian schools. In December 2022, the Commission and the Government of Ukraine signed a €100 million support package for this purpose. Support will reach Ukraine through the EU's humanitarian partners and partly as budget support to the Government of Ukraine.
In parallel, the Commission, together with the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation and DIGITALEUROPE, a European organisation that represents the digital technology industry, has organised a Laptops for Ukraine initiative. The aim is to collect and deliver laptops, smart-phones and tablets and respond to the fundamental needs of schools, hospitals and public administrations in Ukraine's most affected war regions.
The Commission also delivered half a million textbooks to 5th grade students which will support a generation of learners.
How to donate
If you are a public entity or a private company based in the EU and wish to donate buses, please first read carefully the FAQs below. You may also contact the EU Commission Representation in the country that can provide you with additional information about the campaign.
If you are ready to offer buses you should prepare the details of your offer by filling in the document called Technical specifications for bus offers below and send it to: EU-BUSES-UKRAINEec [dot] europa [dot] eu (EU-BUSES-UKRAINE[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu). Please read carefully the Explanations tab in the Excel file.
For any additional questions, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) at the European Commission has a dedicated team to help you. You can contact it via email at EU-BUSES-UKRAINEec [dot] europa [dot] eu (EU-BUSES-UKRAINE[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu).