Learning a new language while swinging in the hammocks

A dedicated teacher from eastern Ukraine opened a center for children's development. After receiving a grant from DRC, she expanded her business and built a space, where children learn languages in an innovative way.


Anastasiya is a teacher from Donbas, eastern Ukraine. She was forced to leave her hometown and as she is taking steps towards rebuilding her life, she opened a center for children's development in Kramatorsk.

Fly-fitness and new languages 

Due to the conflict, in 2014, Anastasiya and her family had to flee their home in nowadays non-government controlled area, and moved to a safer place, a city of Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast, government controlled area.

As Anastasiya is an enthusiastic individual and a passionate teacher, striving to combine her love for children and teaching, she discovered an innovative approach to child development.

Her new project is the “Aurinko Centre”, a harmonious educational facility for the development of children. There, the students are learning new languages, mathematics and practicing various types of physical exercise such as fly-fitness and aerobics.

Swinging in the hammocks

Anastasiya has been developing an advanced way of teaching, which combines the simultaneous instruction of physical activity and learning foreign languages. She believes that learning a new language is tightly interlinked with a physiology and cannot be separated from the body language.

At the educational center, the children are taught languages without a translation, so that, the languages are acquired through a dynamic interaction of body language.

This is why, Anastasiya had an idea to build a special space in the center, equipped with hammocks, so that the children would be able to swing in the air, while learning new languages through interactive activities, which are instructed by the teachers in foreign languages such as English and German.

Grant from DRC 

To be able to construct this space within her center, Anastasia applied and received a grant from the DRC Livelihoods Assistance Programme, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the British Department for International Development (DFID).

“We are running the classes without any competition, without giving any compulsive homework, without inflicting competition or giving rewards to our students. We do not try to create a harsh and punishable environment. Instead, our main priority is to ensure that children are healthy and are enjoying the process of learning new things,” says Anastasiya.

The centre has proved such a success, the demand for enrolment currently exceeds capacity.

The “Aurinko Centre” is not just an exceptional project, based in a city of Kramatorsk, helping around fifty children in Eastern Ukraine, but is an entirely innovative approach to child development in Ukraine.

Facts about DRC in Ukraine:

  • The Danish Refugee Council has been providing humanitarian relief to the conflict-affected population in Donbas, Ukraine, for 5 years, since the conflict escalated in November 2014, creating devastating consequences.
  • According to UNICEF, out of the 3 million Ukrainian civilians who are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 500.000 are children.
  • Many of those vulnerable children experience physical and emotional distress, impacting psychological wellbeing of children, especially those residing close to the “contact line”, where active hostilities often endanger many educational facilities.