PAFF’s support for Ukraine has included the following activities:
In the early weeks of the war we were responding especially to the needs of numerous former and present participants of three PAFF’s international programs: Lane Kirkland Scholarships, “Region in Transition” (RITA), and “Study Tours to Poland” (STP).
Over the years 2000-2022, 8,590 citizens of Ukraine visited Poland under these programs: 555 “Kirklanders”, 1,380 participants of the “RITA” Program and 6,655 in the “Study Tours to Poland” Program (4,508 professionals and 2,147 university students).
- In the “Region in Transition” (RITA) Program, managed by the Education for Democracy Foundation, a fast “Ukrainian path” was created. That special path paved the way to a new PAFF program – “Support for Ukraine” – addressed to Polish NGOs that offer aid to their partner civilian organizations in Ukraine and/or refugees from Ukraine in Poland. Thanks to the transformation of the “Ukrainian path” into the “Support for Ukraine” program a total of PLN 1.7 million was allocated for those intervention projects. In total, the PAFF Board of Directors earmarked over PLN 5 million for the “Support for Ukraine” program.
In March, 422 NGOs submitted applications to participate in the competition for grants for the intervention projects. On the basis of assessment by independent experts and the decision made by the Grant Committee grants were awarded to 59 NGOs in 14 Polish provinces, most of them operating in small towns and villages. 15 projects were being implemented in Ukraine. The intervention projects were aimed at securing the civilian population in Ukraine, supplying medical and personal protection items, equipping and adapting locations that allow people to stay in them under the conditions of war, as well as supporting Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
- Another action carried out under the “Support for Ukraine” program was the grant competition for long-term projects, whose winners were announced in June. The objectives of these projects included supporting children’s and young people’s education in Poland, helping war refugees from Ukraine adapt to the conditions on the Polish job market, and counteracting discriminating practices against them. The Competition Committee chose 33 projects out of the 246 submitted by Polish NGOs. The total value of these projects is over PLN 1.5 million. They are carried out in 14 Polish provinces, and 8 in Ukraine.
The third grant competition, aimed at supporting intervention projects, was launched in September and is addressed to Polish NGOs that want to carry out activities increasing access of Ukrainian children and young people to school and non-school education in Poland and in Ukraine.
- Since 2000 more than 1,000 Polish NGOs have participated in the “RITA” program; together with their Ukrainian partners they implemented 444 projects. Since the end of February 2022, support and humanitarian aid for the civilian population in Ukraine have been organized on the basis of established contacts.
- Since the beginning of war the holders of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program, managed by the Leaders of Change Foundation, who are currently staying in Poland, have been offered informational and organizational support as well as help in transferring their families to Poland. The Program Team tried 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, thanks to the fundraising campaign conducted by the Leaders of Change Foundation, 3 ambulances were equipped and 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 them is Iryna Vereshchuk, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories who studied in Warsaw at the National School of Public Administration in 2015/16.
- 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 through the program alumni to people who had suffered from the war. That assistance went to a majority of the 24 districts of Ukraine, including the Kyiv Oblast and Kyiv City, the Lviv Oblast, the Ternopil and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts, as well as the Kharkiv Oblast, the Sumy Oblast and the Lugansk 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 – organized a large group of volunteers and for months have been involved in supporting 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. At the same time, managers of several PAFF programs raised over USD 4 million from external sources.
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 resulting from the war. In the following weeks next 9 seminars preparing school directors and teachers to work with students from Ukraine were arranged. They were viewed by almost 50,000 people. Since September and the beginning of new school year a series of remote presentations, workshops and meetings on intercultural education and diversity management has been run as part of the Resistant School initiative. The series is addressed to ca. 2,000 school directors.
- Thanks to its experience gained under such projects as “Let’s Talk about Refugees” conducted from 2015 under the initiative and with grants from PAFF, the Center for Citizenship Education Foundation, the Manager of the “Learning Schools” program, has developed many teaching aids for teachers, including: “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”. So far some 20,000 people have used them. In September 2022, thanks to the PLAN International and the Norwegian Refugee Council funds new courses and workshops for teachers were launched. Information about these training sessions and teaching aids are available on Polska-Ukraina. Razem w szkole (Poland-Ukraine. Together at School).
- On the first day of war the PAFF and UW School of Education had already prepared a webinar for teachers, “How to talk with students about the war in Ukraine”. Later it 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; they have been seen by over 10,000 people. Additionally, the experts of the School of Education have produced a set of guides for teachers where they describe differences between Polish and Ukrainian curricula and suggest activities to help in integrating refugee’s children. To date some 30,000 teachers have used it. All these aids are available on the SE website. The School has also organized the “Ukrainian Teacher in Poland” conference attended by almost 100 teachers from Ukraine, and run two online courses: “How to Teach Polish as a Foreign Language” for 30 Polish teachers and “Teaching Math in Poland” for 20 teachers from Ukraine. One of the participants of the conference was Lilia Hrynevich, the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine in 2016-2019, an alumna of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program.
- Under the “School with Class” program a series of sessions on ways of coping with the war situation in Ukraine was arranged. Also, open webinars were held on stress, fear and insecurity. All materials are available on the School with Class Foundation website. So far almost 10,000 people have used them. In May about 100 educational institutions participating in the School with Class program and educating students from Ukraine received computer equipment thanks to support from the Intel company. In September enrollment to the 20th round of “School with Class” was launched. This year the main theme of the round is diversity. The schools participating in the program can hope for extra support. Thanks to funds provided by Plan International, under the new round of the program the School with Class Foundation offers individualized support and consulting to teachers from all over Poland, and grants for introducing changes in the school space to teams of Polish and Ukrainian students. The schools will receive training and consulting by coaches trained in intercultural education.
- Activities supporting Ukrainian children are also carried out by student–volunteers of the “Projector – Student Volunteers” program. From March to May 127 volunteers conducted classes for over 3,000 children from Ukraine at 91 institutions; most of them in the Puławy, Lesko and Bieszczady counties.
- 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 civilians who have suffered from the war.
- In March 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 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 have their seats 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 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 located 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. Since the outbreak of war the English Teaching program team has been focusing on preparing English teachers in small localities to support school students from Ukraine, not only in communication with Polish children and young people but also in formal and everyday family issues. 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” enabling Act Locally Centers to receive support for projects offering aid to refugees from Ukraine, has been launched within regular local grant competitions. 201 grants for a total of almost PLN 1 million were awarded for projects to be implemented by the end of 2022. 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 been in contact with their Ukrainian partners and made efforts to meet the needs reported by them on an ongoing basis.
- 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 implemented for a total of PLN 300,000.
- Through the Anti-Crisis Support Fund, 9 Act Locally Centers assisting refugees from Ukraine received grants for a total amount of PLN 50,000. The grants were for activities such as buying equipment needed for reception and information points and hiring the coordinators of volunteers. Some ALCs also received a total of USD 100,000 from the Mott Foundation under the Global Challenges Local Solutions carried out by the Academy of the Development of Philanthropy in Poland
- In the “PAFF Local Partnerships” program 9 grants for a total of PLN 90,000 for projects supporting refugees from Ukraine were awarded under the Development Fund for alumni. The grants enabled psychological consultations, integration meetings, Polish lessons, cooking, handicraft, and theatrical workshops. Additionally, two new PAFF local partnerships received PLN 100,000 for activities helping to integrate refugees from Ukraine with local communities
- Under the “PAFF Leaders” program, implemented in cooperation with the School of Leaders Foundation, assistance was provided to both the 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 are not only trying to help refugees from Ukraine with their current, basic needs but will also support the refugees in becoming a part of local communities in a longer-term perspective.
- Libraries have played the role of institutions offering necessary information to refugees from Ukraine about support provided by local governments and NGOs regarding fundamental issues such as admitting children to schools and kindergartens, seeking job opportunities, and providing psychological assistance. The refugees have also gained access to computers and the Internet in libraries and their children are invited to join activities for local children held at these institutions. Also, libraries receive support for creating cultural offers for Ukrainian citizens.
- The Information Society Development Foundation, the Manager of the Library Development Program, received a grant of USD 1 million from the Save the Children Foundation for the “Libraries for All” project that involves 100 libraries offering multidimensional educational support for children and young people from Ukraine
Coordination of Polish NGOs’ activities
Since the beginning of the war initiatives supporting Ukraine, especially Ukrainian refugees, have been undertaken by numerous Polish NGOs, often in cooperation with local governments. These activities were especially intensive in the first weeks of the Russian invasion.
PAFF became involved in efforts aimed at coordination of Polish NGOs activities. That included supporting activities for the benefit of Ukrainian children in Poland carried out by the “SOS for Ukraine” network of NGOs.