ZagrebDox First European Festival to Support EU Campaign #EducationNoMatterWhat


With four screenings of the film "When I Grow Up" about the renovation of schools and the educational process in Ukraine, thanks to EU humanitarian support, the 19th International Documentary Film Festival joined the awareness-raising initiative ‘Education No Matter What’

With three festival screenings and one preshow screening of the Belgian film When I Grow Up by Claire Billet and Olivier Jobard, last week ZagrebDox was the first among European festivals to join the #EducationNoMatterWhat awareness campaign of the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and European Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). The campaign addresses the daily challenges of millions of pupils and students affected by humanitarian crises and the importance of education in emergency situations, and its goal is to raise awareness among EU citizens about this topic in general and about how the EU helps children in crisis situations to continue their education.

The preshow screening of When I Grow Up at KIC was attended by students of the First Private High School, while the three festival screenings were open to the entire public, which filled the theatres of the Kaptol Boutique Cinema & Bar in large numbers. Saturday’s screening was also attended by Ivona Lerman from the Communications Department of DG ECHO.

The film When I Grow Up through the stories of Darina, Sonja and Mikita shows the relaunch of classes in Ukraine, where after the withdrawal of the Russian army, destroyed and damaged schools (more than 3,500 of them) are being rebuilt with the humanitarian support of the European Union in the amount of 100 million euros. Despite the struggles, three young people are able to continue their education – giving them a voice, the #EducationNoMatterWhat campaign documents their ambitions and courage in a war-torn country. The war in Ukraine currently affects 5.3 million schoolchildren.

Ukraine is not the only country where access to quality education is difficult. The education of 222 million children worldwide is threatened by armed conflicts and other crisis situations, and 78 million children currently do not have access to education. The EU therefore allocates at least 10% of its total humanitarian aid to projects that support the education of children in crisis situations. Thanks to this aid, almost 12 million children in crisis zones have already been able to continue their education. The horrors of war do not prevent these students from dreaming of a better future and are an inspiration for all children currently living in conflict zones and beyond. In 2023 alone, the EU allocated 158 million euros to projects for the education of children in crisis situations.

The #EducationNoMatterWhat campaign, which runs from January to November 2023 in 13 EU countries, therefore helps pupils and students aged 16 to 30 to better understand and reflect on the positive impact of EU-funded educational projects on young people in the that have been affected by humanitarian crises, through feature-length and short-length documentary films, as well as through a competition for the best idea for a documentary film.

Education is a basic right and a fundamental need of children and young people, as well as a driver of change, and therefore must not be interrupted and must always be available regardless of the severity of the crisis situation. Since humanitarian crises in the world pose a threat to the education of children and young people, it is crucial to provide them with a better future, develop their full potential and provide them with the necessary skills and protection to restore their sense of normality and safety.