30 March, 2022

Help us support refugees from Ukraine in Poland

An article from SCI Poland

llustration created for SCI Poland by Anastasiia Rudnieva – Ukrainian artist from Rivne, painter and illustrator, currently based in Lviv, Ukraine.

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After over a month of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, war-relief work remains the most important topic for the Polish SCI branch. Our focus is on the fate of Ukrainian people fleeing from their war-torn homeland. In Poland, the war in Ukraine has caused a refugee crisis of an unprecedented magnitude. UNHCR states that more than 2 million people have arrived in Poland from Ukraine since the 24th February, among them mostly women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

The immense challenge of hosting them, providing them with shelter, food, medical and psychological help, has fallen on the shoulders of civil society. Dozens of NGOs are working every day, tirelessly, to prevent this refugee crisis from becoming a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe. Although the government plays some role in providing funds, non-governmental organizations rely mainly on support from Polish society. Collections of food, clothing, cosmetics are organized almost everywhere. Many people have offered newcomers a place to stay in their own homes. Those efforts do not change the fact that the situation in many places is dire, but as for now, we are far from a disaster.

Nevertheless, with time new challenges will arise. One of the most important ones is the adaptation and integration of those refugees who would stay longer in Poland. This will be especially important in the context of a huge number of Ukrainian children who have entered — and will enter — the Polish system of education. Underfunded schools and overworked teachers will face a difficult task, having to both educate and help new students adapt and integrate. This is the area in which we have become active.

The influx of Russian and Ukrainian-speaking children, traumatized by the horrors of war, in Polish schools creates a demand for assistance. Intercultural assistants are already working in some of the schools in the country, but the need for them has increased manifold. Drawing on many years of experience in the field of global education and work for refugees, we are able to provide them with training and resources. Furthermore, we want to be able to employ intercultural assistants directly if need be. Finally, we want to organize activities, such as workshops, integrative classes, summer day camps for the refugee children and youth.

The situation and, consequently, the needs of refugees in Poland are changing dynamically. New governmental policies and programs are being introduced overnight. To act in this environment, we need flexibility, ability to quickly move funds between various initiatives which grants, governed by strict rules and regulations, can’t provide. One certain thing is that the need for assistance in adaptation and integration of refugees will not go away anytime soon. On the contrary, it will only rise.

Your donations will help us act swiftly and decisively anytime the need for help arises — by organizing workshops for adults, classes for minors, or creating a job for an intercultural assistant. To support us financially, please visit our donation page on PayPal. 

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Thank you to Jan Jęcz from SCI Poland for this submission

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