More than 400 thousand Russian children today need long-term treatment. The network of schools "UchiMznay" throughout Russia helps cancer-stricken schoolchildren undergoing treatment in hospitals not to pause in the educational process and changes their attitude to the disease. About the project – in a story from Russia dedicated to the World Teacher's Day, which is celebrated on the fifth of October.

The project "UchiMznay" has been in existence for ten years. The flagship site of the project appeared on the basis of the Dmitry Rogachev National Medical Research Center. The center was named after a boy who was also treated for cancer, but could not overcome the disease, including due to the lack of the necessary technologies, conditions for the treatment and psychological support of children with cancer.

At the opening of the first school of the UchiMznay project, the team of specialists took into account both international and Russian experience of hospital schools. For the education of children undergoing treatment, professionals were selected who, thanks to special technology, would not only make hospital training rich and interesting, but also help to set their students life guidelines.


UN Information Center in Russia / A. Filatov


"Wow effect"

"When we started the project, we did not set global goals. But having opened the first hospital school "UchiMznay", we saw how it affects children. In a sense, this school is even better than the one that the children left at home. It is brighter, more civil and in every sense cool. It causes a wow effect that changes the attitude to the disease. Our schools are not just about learning, they are about life and how your life changes depending on which people are next to you," said Sergey Sharikov, the head of the UchiMznay project.


"Children don't want to be pitied"

Over 10 years, more than 60 schools of the project have already been opened in the country. About 5,000 children study in the educational institutions of the network throughout Russia during the year. According to Sergey Sharikov, the project "Learn to Know" got its name because its employees not only teach children, but also know that their students can teach them a lot themselves. For example, strength and endurance.


These children don't want to be pitied. They want to be understood

"These children don't want to be pitied. They want to be understood. Understanding a child is the basis of the technology of hospital teachers, because trust is built with understanding. Trusting, we do things that surprise a person from the outside. For example, our students can become winners of the final of the All–Russian Olympiad for schoolchildren, while undergoing chemotherapy," says the project manager.


Cooperation with the UN in Russia

Students of the project not only participate in All-Russian competitions and Olympiads, but also take part in international projects. UchiMznay works closely with the UN Information Center in Moscow and the Russian Association for the Promotion of the United Nations. The project participants celebrate Childhood Cancer Day on February 15 and regularly, for four years in a row, take part in the International Nelson Mandela Day.


UN Information Center in Russia / A. Filatov


This year the event was held on the basis of the first site of the project "UchiMznay" – in the Medical Center named after. Dmitry Rogachev. Schoolchildren from the centers involved in the project made personal and video-conference presentations on the life of the South African activist, read poems dedicated to Mandela in Russian and English, and also shared a review of the film "Unconquered", based on the biography of the politician. During the event, the organizers also showed a video "67 minutes of good deeds", in which schoolchildren starred. At it, the young participants of the project "UchiMznay" told what kind of good deeds they have done this year.

Representatives of the United Nations traditionally took part in the celebration: Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of the UN Information Center in Moscow, and Alexey Borisov, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Association for the Promotion of the United Nations. Vladimir Kuznetsov, during his speech, said that the UN information center in Pretoria was interested in the initiative of the "Learn to Know" project and next year plans to organize a Russia-South Africa teleconference with the participation of South African schoolchildren from similar institutions.

PHOTO: UN Information Center in Russia / A. Filatov

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