After my own family got out of Ukraine last week and in-between helping friends still in country, my attention of course then turned to the kids who are in the middle of this. Olha has launched her amazing “Teachers for Peace” initiative where teachers, genki and otherwise, do zoom lessons with Ukrainian kids (there is a post in the Genki FB group if you want to help).
And I also opened up Genki English Online for free for kids and teachers in Ukraine (any teachers in Ukraine who need this, get a message to me and I’ll send you links!)
Whilst doing the graphics for that I noticed that the Genki English Superhero colors were really similar to the Ukrainian colors. The Genki English Superhero has helped 1000s of kids around the world get more confident and strength in hard times and it is also one of the most popular Genki English songs in Ukraine. And I figured seeing the superhero they already know now dressed in their colors would help boost some of the kids and also let them know that we are all thinking of them. So a few hours of coding and I had the Genki English Superhero in yellow and blue! I had to change the GE chest logo so I asked in the Genki VIP group if we should also add in the Ukrainian symbol, the trident, which of course originally was for the holy trinity. The Ukrainian teachers said “Yes!” and the consensus from other Genki Teachers was “If the Ukrainian teachers want it, they got it!” So I did the full Super Ukraine version last week,
And today, if you want to show your support but can’t, understandably, use symbols in class, then there is the Superhero just in the blue and yellow colors.
What else can you do to help?
“Help us get the word out about what is happening” was the biggest request from Ukrainian teachers last week. They are not just facing bombs but are also facing propaganda robot trolls and even, unbelievable, family members and fellow teachers who are denying what is happening. So anything you can do to show your support to Ukrainian teachers, to let them know that they are not alone and what you are doing to help will aways be appreciated. And if you see anyone trolling or hating, then please report it and delete it. Even last week when I wrote my blog of what we went through I was getting hate mail from even some so-called English teachers! There are so many teachers standing up for the people suffering now, so let’s not the hate and trolls win either offline or online and let’s show our support, and how much support they have, to the Ukrainian teachers, the people taking huge risks to protest against this and everyone who is working to stop this!
And then of course there is much needed donations and aid. My family were so grateful for the welcome they received in Poland. And it has been the same in Moldova and the other EU countries. The “baby steps” comes into play here, thinking you have to travel 1000s of kms to safety has been making some people too scared to try. But knowing that it is only the border you have to get to, that there are people on the other side to care for you, has given so many people the courage to make the long, dangerous journey out. So anything you can do to help the people helping is always appreciated too. Usually at this stage of a crisis the essentials are in place so money donations rather than actual physical donations are usually the most needed. (Physical things need washing and triaging and warehousing, whereas money can be quickly directed to where it is needed most and for specialist things like medicine.)
I’m sure at some point we will be doing something with Genki English like we did with the Japan Earthquake.
For now I always look at what skills we have and what we can do that other people can’t. Caring for the people around you, helping fellow genki teachers, seeing if there is anything else to help with the kids are all things to think about.
And on behalf of myself, my family and my friends I thank you for all you are doing.