Press Release: Teachers from Finland mentored peers in Ukraine

April 26, 2024

Finnish Teachers Mentored Ukrainian colleagues in the MovED by Mentoring Program, which concluded at the end of March 2024. All participating Ukrainian and Finnish teachers reported feeling empowered, supported, and equipped with new insights for their work. Direct assistance between professionals appears to be both necessary and effective based on the pilot's experiences. 

The aim of the MovED by Mentoring pilot program was to support Ukrainian teachers' motivation and enhance respect for their valuable work. Teachers play a crucial role in fostering a growth mindset needed for Ukraine's reconstruction. Positive chain reactions are sparked through small acts of human-to-human support. The investment in supporting teachers multiplies through students and colleagues at schools. Additionally, the program sought to learn about the current state and needs of the education sector in Ukraine reconstruction planning.

The first MovED by Mentoring pilot involved 26 teachers from Finland and Ukraine. The project aimed to assess whether such support would be beneficial for Ukrainian teachers. Peer mentorship pairs had a total of 3 – 4 personal meetings from January to March 2024. Group work and joint meetings were also conducted. Pre- and post-interviews, a writing task, and feedback videos were used to gather feedback from both mentors and mentees to gather learnings. 

Expert speakers were invited based on Ukrainian preferences. Professor Emeritus ( in education)  Patrick Scheinin discussed the Finnish education system, while Risto Vahanen, Chairman of Finnish Global Education Solutions, addressed coping with stressful situations. Furthermore, the basics of peer mentoring were introduced, best practices were shared, and tools developed in previous programs supporting Ukraine's education sector were disseminated.

Partners of the mentoring program donated a total of €15,000 worth of services, including three movable Artome presentation solutions, and financial support directly for Ukrainian teachers who participated in the program. At the same time, bridges were built for Finnish companies to establish contacts and gain experience in Ukraine's reconstruction market. Partners included Artome Oy, Finnish Global Education Solutions Oy, and the Ministry of Good Spirit.

Ukrainian teachers expressed that the program was a tangible demonstration of Finnish solidarity with Ukraine and a concrete action to support it. Acting strengthened hope, and hope sparked more action, was the program's motto. Mentorship was tailored to Ukrainian needs, fostering direct connections between colleagues - human to human. Through mentoring, the practical meaning of Finnish student-centered teaching could be demonstrated and learned.

83% of respondents who participated in the mentoring program said it positively impacted their work. Mentors also learned from collaboration and found it inspiring. Professional collaboration was motivating and provided a tangible way to help Ukrainians while simultaneously developing and empowering oneself.

"We wanted to help Ukraine by leveraging our expertise and created a platform to bring aid directly to the ground in Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine is new, so the most important thing was to start by asking Ukrainians what would help them in their work. The effectiveness of the peer mentoring pilot was a positive surprise. The program has already impacted many people through the participants. During the program, Ukrainians began to apply new learnings in schools with students, collaborate with colleagues, mentor teacher trainees, pursue further studies, and read literature. A growth mindset is crucial in the reconstruction of Ukraine," says Hannele Mennala, the CEO of Voices For Freedom and a mentor in the program.

International experts living in Finland from five different countries were involved in organizing the program alongside Finns. This provided them with an excellent opportunity to integrate into Finland's working life, establish contacts, and demonstrate their expertise in achieving a meaningful goal in collaboration.

MovED by Mentoring was implemented by (Voices For Freedom ry). The association was established in spring 2023 in collaboration with Finns and Ukrainians to support the development of the education sector and growth entrepreneurs in Ukraine. The activities were based on the founders' previous collaboration in the education and startup sector since 2018. The goal of peer mentoring was to support teachers, assess the current situation of Ukrainian teachers through direct discussions and establish connections between Finnish and Ukrainian professionals and companies. The program involved 26 mentors and mentees from Finland and Ukraine, as well as a group of keynote speakers and organizers. Partners included Artome Oy, Finnish Global Education Solutions Oy, and the Ministry of Good Spirit. Through partners, €15,000 in support was raised and donated directly to Ukrainian teachers and schools.

MovED by Mentoring is a continuation of the Ukrainian startup program, where Finnish business leaders mentored Ukrainian entrepreneurs in the spring of 2022. The program raised €50,000 and involved 10 organizations supporting Ukraine's reconstruction through entrepreneurship. The results of the entrepreneurship mentoring program confirmed the need for such direct action programs. Therefore, the individuals behind it established the Voices For Freedom association to continue the work. Partners at the moment include:  KPMG Finland, The Ukrainian Association in Finland, The Ministry of Good Spirit, Brainy Education, Junior Academy of Sciences, Ukrainian Future, Makariv County, Freed, Vastuunkantavat, Innovation Home, Lyyti, Artome and Finnish Global Education Solutions. | Linkedin | Instagram | Facebook




MovED founders have worked with Ukraine for years, and are all active in the start-up communities.

More information:

Hannele Mennala  -  Voices For Freedom NGO, CEO, founder

Business leader, startup co-founder and higher education expert

Worked with Ukraine since 2018 

+358 50 486 8586,

Mikko-Pekka Hanski  -  Voices For Freedom NGO, Chairman of the Board, founder

Founder of Ministry of Good Spirit 

One of the founders of Idean

+358 41 535 3281,

Press Release: Teachers from Finland mentored peers in Ukraine

is coming up in:


See other topics: