TALLINN – The Estonian Center for International Development Cooperation (ESTDEV) on Friday signed a contract with Harmet, the largest manufacturer of modular buildings in Estonia, initiating the construction of a kindergarten in the town of Ovruch, Ukraine.
Harmet secured the public contract worth 1.7 million euros for the construction of a four-classroom kindergarten, and will work to design, manufacture, transport, and assemble the kindergarten with a guarantee of a one-year warranty. The modular kindergarten, which is to be ready within 170 calendar days of the conclusion of the contract, will be Estonia's first reconstruction project in Ukraine, ESTDEV said in a press release.
Ukraine's Ambassador to Estonia Mariana Betsa, who attended the ceremony of signing the contract, said that Estonia is the first country to begin rebuilding Ukraine's Zhytomyr region.
"The agreement signed today marks the beginning of an important humanitarian project, as a result of which our children will be able to learn, grow, and feel safe again," Betsa said.
The contract between ESTDEV and Harmet signals the start of the construction of the kindergarten. The first stage of construction will include four classrooms, able to host 80 children in all. In the second stage, the kindergarten will be expanded by another four rooms, growing its capacity to 160 children. Due to active military hostilities in Ukraine, most construction must be carried out outside of Ukraine, mitigating risks by keeping on-site work to a minimum.
Andrea Kivi, acting CEO of ESTDEV, said the kindergarten to be built by Harmet meets European Union building standards, giving Ukrainian companies the opportunity to become familiar with the regulations and codes of European Union construction.
"Likewise, since we have cooperated with Ukrainian representatives from the beginning, the kindergarten will also be built in accordance with Ukrainian construction standards," said Kivi, adding that, in the future, it may be possible for Ukrainian companies to be part of building projects in Estonia.
ESTDEV has contracted five private professionals for the construction of the kindergarten. Several entrepreneurs have offered their services free of charge, and this has allowed the project to advance quickly. Architecture Firm Sport OU has created workable blueprints, and Primostar OU will supply waterproofing materials for an underground bomb shelter. Kitman Thule AS and SolarStone OU have also offered their help. The project is supported by Woodhouse Estonia.
Once the kindergarten is up and running, Estonia is eager to make available its structures, strategies, and resources in education and school management.
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated 1.9 million euros from its adjusted budget for 2022 for the implementation of this project.
In addition to building the kindergarten, Estonia has pledged one million euros towards the restoration of a bridge in Malyn, also in the Zhytomyr region.