Romny “Tiny Star” Pre-School Cafeteria Project – Ukraine

Romny, Sumska oblast, Ukraine

Community Description
Romny is a city of approximately 50,000 people, located in the Sumska Oblast in northern Ukraine.

Over 1200 years old, it has been an important part of the region, serving as a military, cultural and economic center in various capacities throughout its history. More recently, Romny has been a manufacturing and agricultural hub.

However, as economic conditions have declined, much of the industry that once thrived has disappeared. Availability of government funding for restoration and infrastructure maintenance has also seen a large decline, leaving local infrastructure and housing in various states of disrepair and decay, particularly the city’s water delivery and sanitation systems.

Romny “Tiny Star” Pre-school is located on a one-building campus on the edge of Romny city limits. There are 142 children from ages 3 to 4 currently attending the pre-school. Over the years, budget issues have forced the closure of other pre-schools in the area, such that “Tiny Star” now houses nearly 30% more children throughout the year than it was originally designed for. Despite having an undersized kitchen and cafeteria, the school provides meal services for all children throughout the year, as is required by local regulation.

The primary difficulty facing the school, however, is not the challenge of feeding all of its children, but instead keeping a clean and sanitary kitchen. Presently, the school kitchen contains only one small sink, which doubles as a storage cabinet for pots, pans and tableware. The size of the sink, and the fact that it is the only one, make it inadequate for the job of cleaning cooking utensils and tableware in a reasonably organized and timely manner.

Often, a long queue of dirty utensils builds, and due to limited space, must be stacked wherever possible throughout the kitchen as they wait to be cleaned. Additionally, storing clean utensils below the sink has become increasingly unsanitary, as water has leaked over time and rotted sections of the cabinet. Currently, the kitchen staff has elected to use any other kitchen space available to store kitchenware, which has compounded their cleaning issue during mealtimes.

The pre-school’s records show that each child misses an average of nearly 14 days due to illness during the course of their enrollment. Administrators feel they the conditions in the kitchen create one of the primary health risks to children and staff at the school.

Project Description
This project is to improve the sanitation and safety of the school kitchen by installing new sinks and cabinets.

A modern double-basined sink unit will be installed which will optimize kitchen space and greatly assist staff in cleaning kitchenware in a more efficient and sanitary manner.

Parents of pre-school children with plumbing experience will provide the labor free of charge, and have agreed to pull together money to purchase the pipes and other plumbing supplies which will be necessary.

Project funds will be used to purchase and ship the new sink, as well as purchase

Project Impact
169 people will benefit from the project, including 142 pre-school children ages three & four, and 27 child-care, office and maintenance staff occupying the buildings on a daily basis.

In addition, 280 parents of the pre-school will indirectly benefit

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
John VanGavree

The work accomplished by this project will better permit the kitchen to serve hundreds of meals per day in a satisfactory and sanitary manner. This can be expected to eliminate the risk of closure by regulators.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date


Donations of any amount will be appreciated. The full amount will give you “naming rights”, if that is something you would like.

Any contributions in excess of the Dollar Amount of the Project will be allocated to other projects directed by this PCV and/or projects of other PCVs in this country.

Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 – This project has now been fully funded through the generosity of friends and family of Peace Corps Volunteer John VanGavree.

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify John of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by John and/or those of other PCVs in the country.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.