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Schull man brings home a ‘wishlist’ from Ukraine pupils

June 3rd, 2023 5:50 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Schull man brings home a ‘wishlist’ from Ukraine pupils Image
Brendan Molloy went to Ukraine as a support to students looking to improve their English. (Photo: Carlos Benlayo)

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WEST Cork language lecturer Brendan Molloy returned to Schull this month with a wishlist from his students in Ukraine.

Speaking to The Southern Star from the city of Vinnitsa in Central Ukraine, Mr Molloy of Lowertown, Schull, said he is doing what he can to offer support to students who are more determined than ever to learn English.

He was invited by his students, teachers and colleagues and has found that his in-person classes have given them a reason to smile at this difficult time.

‘It gives the students I meet in classes and assembly halls a lift to be there in person instead of just online,’ said Brendan, who used to host between 16 and 25 lessons per week but is now doing half that number.

Another thing Brendan finds distressing is that he can no longer teach Russian children. I can’t do that anymore,’ he said, ‘but it’s not the children’s fault.’

Brendan said the students and teachers are aware of the support being provided to Ukrainian refugees in Ireland and he said he would be happy, on his return to Ireland, to liaise with a local support group to meet some of their needs.

Brendan received an invitation to attend a youth conference in Lviv, in the west of the country, close to the Polish border, and he extended his stay to meet the students he had been working with online.

He had previously visited Ukraine for more than a month in 2021, but this return trip was very different.

Brendan Molloy with some of his English language students in Ukraine.


Although the cities that he visited, such as Ivano Frankivsk, Odessa and Vinnitsa are not badly bombed, there are a lot of displaced people especially in Kyiv.

‘The cities I have been to haven’t experienced the worst,’ he said. ‘In the west the bombing has been sporadic but the further east you go the more likely you are to encounter destroyed cities. When the Russians retreated they left a trail of destruction – no electricity, no water or internet.’

Brendan studied for his diploma youth and community development and bachelor of social science at UCC and followed it with a masters of sociology of globalisation and development.

The lecturer is originally from Dublin but also lived for 23 years in Australia, where he worked in retail and banking before deciding to become a teacher.

‘I went back as a mature student and it all took off from there,’ he said. ‘It was my masters that had a big influence on me wanting to teach because globalisation, as we view it, has been dismantled.

‘With globalisation the world was one big trading family but the war has undermined that particular model, resulting in a fuel crisis, massive inflation, sanctions on the Russian federation. Trust has gone for now and could generations before it is restored.’

Anyone who would like to support the further education of Ukrainian students can contact Brendan at [email protected].

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