PAFF’s support for Ukraine includes the following activities:
We respond to the needs of numerous former and present participants of three PAFF international programs: Lane Kirkland Scholarships, “Region in Transition” (RITA), and “Study Tours to Poland” (STP).
Over the past two decades, 8,426 citizens of Ukraine visited Poland under these undertakings: 541 “Kirklanders”, 1,330 participants of the “RITA” Program and 6,575 in the “Study Tours to Poland” Program (4,477 professionals and 2,098 university students).
- In the “Region in Transition” (RITA) Program, managed by the Education for Democracy Foundation, a fast “Ukrainian path” was created in the current, regular competition for partnership projects (the first deadline for applications was March 15). That special path paved the way to a new PAFF program – “Support for Ukraine” – addressed to Polish NGOs that offer aid to their partners in Ukraine and/or refugees from Ukraine in Poland. The PAFF Board of Directors earmarked PLN 4 million for the “Support for Ukraine” Program.
A total of 422 NGOs submitted applications to the “RITA” Program under the Ukrainian path. The objectives of the projects submitted to this the competition shall serve to secure the civilian population in Ukraine, supply medical and personal protection items, equip and adapt locations to the war situation, as well as supporting refugees in Poland. Thanks to the transformation of the Ukrainian path into a new, broader undertaking – the “Support for Ukraine” Program – a total of PLN 1,7 million will be earmarked for those intervention projects. On the basis of assessment by independent experts and the decision made by the Grant Committee grants were awarded to 59 nongovernmental organizations in 14 provinces. Most of them operate in small towns and villages. 15 projects will be implemented in Ukraine.
At the same time, under the “Support for Ukraine” Program an open grant competition for long term projects has been announced. The objectives of these projects shall include supporting children’s and young people’s education in Poland, adapting war refugees from Ukraine to the conditions on the Polish job market, and counteracting discriminating practices against them. It is planned that a total of over PLN 1.5 million will be awarded as grants for these projects.
Since 2000, more than 1,000 Polish NGOs have participated in the “RITA” Program. Some 700 of them implemented a total of 444 projects working together with their Ukrainian partners. On the basis of the contacts established, today many of these organizations engage in humanitarian aid for the civilian population in Ukraine, including efforts beyond “RITA”.
- The holders of the Lane Kirkland Scholarships Program, managed by the Leaders of Change Foundation, who are currently staying in Poland, are offered informational and organizational support. They have received offers of help in transferring their families to Poland as well. The Program Team tries also to respond to the individual and collective needs reported by the program alumni in Ukraine, such as providing them with medicines, medical equipment and food. To that end PLN 100,000 has been reallocated under the Kirkland Program’s current budget for humanitarian aid for the civilian population and coordination of assistance in Ukraine.
- Additionally, the fundraising campaign, conducted by the Leaders of Change Foundation, is to offer extra support to those Kirkland Scholarships Program participants who are involved in assistance to citizens of Ukraine suffering from the war. Thanks to the collection of items and funds that had been held in the first week of the war the Foundation, in cooperation with the program alumni, equipped 3 ambulances that were delivered to Ukraine by the alumni who are currently living in Poland.
Many former Kirkland Program participants play important roles in Ukrainian public and local administration, academic communities, cultural institutions, NGOs, business and media. One of the Kirkland Program alumni is Iryna Vereshchuk, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories (She studied in Warsaw at the National School of Public Administration in 2015/2016).
- Under the “Study Tours to Poland” Program, managed by the Leaders of Change Foundation in cooperation with Borussia Foundation, the “STP for Ukraine” undertaking, with a budget of PLN 900,000, has been launched. Polish NGOs that had hosted groups of university student leaders and professionals delivered material and financial support to people who had suffered from the war through the program alumni. To date, assistance went to 15 of the 24 districts of Ukraine, including the Kyiv Oblast and Kyiv City, the Lviv Oblast, the Ternopil and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts, the Kharkiv Oblast and the Sumy Oblast.
- Former participants in the “Study Tours to Poland” Program from Tarnopol, Khrystyna Bilinska, a civil servant and a social activist, and Mykhailo Syrotyuk, a city councilman – both founders of the Science Center in Tarnopol (a part of the Young Explorers Clubs’ network within the PAFF “Equal Opportunities” Program) – organized a large group of volunteers to jointly support refugees, including material assistance. The Science Center in Tarnopil has become a local humanitarian aid center.
In both main areas of PAFF’s domestic activity – education and development of local communities – actions primarily focused on assisting refugees from Ukraine in Poland have been implemented since the beginning of the war. So far PLN 1.6 million has been allocated for these initiatives.
One of the most significant goals in the area of education is assistance in securing care for Ukrainian children.
- On the first day of Russian invasion, the “War in Ukraine. How to talk about it with kids and teenagers” was held under the “Learning Schools” (LES) Program. Its objective was to prepare Polish teachers to deal with a totally new situation in discussions with their students as well as to work with children and youth from Ukraine. To date more than 38,000 people have viewed that webinar. During the recent few weeks also other webinars were broadcast: “How to prepare your school for the admission of students from Ukraine?” and “Preparatory classes at school. Law and good practices” – a webinar addressed to school directors, as well as “How to prepare class for the admission of a student from Ukraine?”, addressed to teachers and attended by almost 7,000 people.
- The Center for Citizenship Education Foundation, the Manager of the “Learning Schools” Program, has posted several useful articles on its blog such as: “What can we do in the time of war in Ukraine?”, “How shall we talk with children and teenagers at home and school about the war?”, “How shall we talk about the war in the presence of children from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus?”, “Learn about the people and culture of Ukraine through their literature, music and movies” and “Students with migration experiences at school – how to support them”. These teaching aids are available on Polska-Ukraina. Razem w szkole (Poland-Ukraine. Together at School).
- The PAFF and UW School of Education has prepared a webinar for teachers, “How to talk with students about the war in Ukraine”, which has reached over 4,000 recipients so far. The School of Education also held three other open webinars for teachers on talking with school students about the war, teaching the Polish-Ukrainian history as well as methods of integrating Polish and Ukrainian teenagers. The webinars have been watched by more than 6,000 people so far. At the beginning of April an online course for 30 Polish teachers, “How to teach Polish as a foreign language”, was launched. The School of Education experts have also prepared sets of guides for teachers where they compare Polish and Ukrainian curricula and suggest activities helping integrate children of refugees with Polish students. All these aids are available on the SE website.
- Under the “School with Class” Program a series of sessions on “How to cope with the war situation in Ukraine” was arranged. The first two meetings that took place so far were attended by over 600 people. Also, open webinars are held on stress, fear and insecurity. In cooperation with the Demagog Association the School with Class Foundation has prepared educational materials on themes such as how to support children at the time of war in Ukraine, and how to deal with disinformation and fake news. All these guides are available on the website of the School With Class Foundation.
- Activities supporting Ukrainian children are also carried out by student–volunteers of the “Projector – Student Volunteers” Program who have held classes for over 2,000 children since February 28.
- The “Equal Opportunities” Program supported two Ukrainian organizations with PLN 30,000 – the Center for Education Initiatives of Lviv and the Unique Region Mission of Zmerynka in the Vinnitsa oblast – that are offering support to the civilian people who have suffered from the war.
- On March 8 an online meeting with a psychologist, Małgorzata Ohme, on “How to talk with teens on the war” was held on the “Equal Opportunities” YouTube channel and the Facebook profile. The event was moderated by Janusz Schwertner, an Onet journalist and feature writer.
- In the past years 45 Young Explorers’ Clubs with some 20,000 active participants have been established in Ukraine under the “Equal Opportunities” Program. These Clubs are in Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkov, Mariupol, Odessa, Tarnopol and Lviv. The Civis Polonus Foundation, the “Equal Opportunities” Program Manager, is in contact with them and has offered them assistance, including a shelter in Poland.
- The “NIDA” Development Foundation, the Manager of the “English Teaching” Program, has been working with English teachers in schools in villages and small towns on intercultural education for a number of years. In many schools, they are in charge of the first contact and adaptation assistance to foreign students. Therefore the “English Teaching” program team is focusing on preparing English teachers in villages and small towns to support school students from Ukraine not only in communication with Polish children and young people but also in formal and everyday issues of their families. The “NIDA” Foundation is also actively supporting the “Dobroczyn Center” Association in Chernihiv and preparing local communities to play host to families from Ukraine.
In the area of local community development in Poland:
- In “Act Locally” a separate path “Act Locally and in solidarity with Ukraine” has been launched within regular local grant competitions held all over Poland between March and June. Grants will be awarded for projects providing assistance to refugees from Ukraine. It is anticipated that 200 such projects will be implemented for a total of PLN 1 million.
- Over the last years the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland, the “Act Locally” Program Manager, and some Act Locally Centers became involved in the “Act Locally in Ukraine” initiative. Within this undertaking elements of the Polish model of local philanthropy development, such as running local grant competitions, fundraising, organizing volunteering, and building local partnerships were transferred to Ukraine. The Act Locally Centers have launched activities aimed at supporting their Ukrainian partners in meeting their current extraordinary needs.
- In “PAFF Local Partnerships”, the offer of local grant competitions makes it possible to obtain funds for the implementation of activities aimed at helping refugees from Ukraine. At least 10 such projects will be executed for a total of PLN 300,000.
- Under the “PAFF Leaders” Program, implemented in cooperation with the School of Leaders Foundation, assistance is being provided to both program’s current participants and alumni who carry out activities aimed at assisting refugees from Ukraine in finding accommodation and jobs in their communities.
- Under the Library Development Program and in cooperation with the “Sector 3.0” Program, both of which are managed by the Information Society Development Foundation, the Libraries for Ukraine initiative has been launched. Also the website bibliotekidlaukrainy.org.pl was created with the aim of supporting libraries that offer help to refugees from Ukraine. These libraries not only are trying to help refugees from Ukraine with their current, basic needs but also will support the refugees in becoming a part of local communities in a longer-term perspective.
- Libraries are prepared to play the role of institutions offering necessary information to refugees from Ukraine about support provided by local governments and NGOs in fundamental issues such as admitting children to schools and kindergartens, seeking job opportunities, and providing psychological assistance. The refugees will also gain access to computers and the Internet in libraries and their children will be invited to join activities for local children held at these institutions. In the near future the libraries will receive support from the Program Manager to create cultural offers for Ukrainian citizens.
Coordination of Polish NGOs’ activities
Initiatives supporting Ukraine, especially Ukrainian refugees, have been undertaken by numerous Polish NGOs, often in cooperation with local governments.
An important NGO network supported by PAFF is the Citizen Committee of Solidarity with Ukraine. It was established in 2014, with PAFF’s involvement, in response to the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. Just after the Russian invasion, the Committee resumed its work. Its activities include humanitarian assistance to people in Ukraine and care for Ukrainian refugees in Poland, including information, legal and logistic support offered by volunteers recruited by the Committee. PAFF also supports activities for the benefit of Ukrainian children in Poland carried out by the “SOS for Ukraine” network of NGOs.