Masaryk University responded to the outbreak of war in Ukraine immediately and from the very first days began providing assistance to Ukrainian students, staff and their families through the MUNI HELPS Volunteer Centre. The MUNI Helps Ukraine website has been created for easier orientation and is available in Czech, English and Ukrainian. Subsequently, MU organised fundraising for educational and humanitarian purposes, to which over 800 contributors donated nearly CZK 1.4 million. You can still make a donation through the MUNI Shopping Centre.
The funds collected have also helped Illia Kostenko, a student of the Faculty of Informatics, whose hometown of Kharkiv has been shelled by the Russians since the first day of the war. “My mother, grandmother and grandfather were hiding in the basement for over a week. When they arrived in Brno, I found myself completely broke, because I had to buy basic necessities for them and help them pay for accommodation. I am very grateful that MU helped me financially in this difficult time, I would never have managed without the scholarship,” said the computer science student. There are currently 41 students receiving the same scholarship.
The money from donors has paid for the lunches supplied by the MU canteen to Ukrainian children in the YMCA Brno Adaptation Group. The financial aid also partially paid for the Summer Tutoring School attended by 15 Ukrainian children.
Special admission procedure and material donations for Ukraine
In addition to financial aid, Masaryk University opened a special admission procedure for Ukrainian students in mid-April. Of the almost 850 students who applied, a total of 480 have already been admitted to study. The MU Language Centre has organised Czech language courses for newly admitted foreign students to facilitate their studies at MU and their integration in Czechia.
In the summer, Masaryk University also responded to the request of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and offered its premises for the organisation of entrance exams for applicants to Bachelor’s programmes at Ukrainian universities who reside outside of Ukraine. A total of 1,800 applicants participated in the special admission procedure at MU. Masaryk University has had very positive feedback from the Ukrainian Ministry of Education regarding the course of the examinations it helped organise.
MU does not only help the students, though – almost 90 Ukrainian academic workers, including teachers and scientists who were forced to leave their homes because of the war, have found safe haven and employment at Masaryk University. In addition, MU offered the Ukrainian students, staff and their families accommodation in its dormitories, free interpreting into Czech and psychological counselling on a crisis line. During the spring semester, MU also organised a collection of material aid, the Giving Day for Ukraine, the Concert for Ukraine and a screening of the film Zátopek in the Scala university cinema.
This year, MU initiatives connected to helping international students during the war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic were also recognised by the European Association for International Education (EAIE), which awarded MU for Excellence in Internationalisation. Representatives of the university will receive the special award on 13 September at the EAIE annual conference in Barcelona.
Masaryk University will continue to assist Ukraine in this academic year as well. If you want to get involved in volunteering activities, sign in to the MUNI HELPS Volunteer Centre mobile/web application.