Since 2004 more than 10,000 people have visited Poland under the “STP” Program, including 6,500 visitors from Ukraine. Due to the war in Ukraine, the study tours to Poland have been suspended and a special initiative – STP for Ukraine – was launched with a budget of PLN 900,000.
The “Study Tours to Poland” Program is addressed to active university students and professionals from Eastern Europe and other post-communist countries. Its objective is to present the realities of life in Poland and the European Union and, at the same time, develop and enhance professional and personal relationships between young leaders from the East and their Polish hosts. The program is managed by the Leaders of Change Foundation in cooperation with the Borussia Foundation.
As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine the study tours to Poland have been suspended and a new initiative – STP for Ukraine – was launched with a budget of PLN 900,000.
Polish NGOs that were hosts to groups of student and professional leaders, in cooperation with STP Program alumni, have been transferring material and financial support to people in Ukraine who suffered from the war. Among those NGOs are: the Good Will Foundation of Kraków, the KReAdukacja Foundation for Educational Actions of Lublin, the Education and Civil Society Development Foundation of Łódź, the Foundation of the Socio-Economic Balance Institute of Gdańsk, the Foundation for Science and Creativity Promotion of Nowy Sącz, the Foundation for European Studies of Wrocław, and the Level UP Association of Łódź.
Assistance has gone to 15 of the 24 oblasts in Ukraine, including the Kyiv Oblast and Kyiv City, the Lviv, Ternopil and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts, the Kharkiv Oblast and the Sumy Oblast. All in all 50 initiatives of Ukrainian STP alumni have received PAFF funds for:
- medical supplies,
- gas for vehicles evacuating civilian people and delivering medical supplies and food,
- personal hygiene products for children and seniors.
It was also important to support coordination of humanitarian help, especially an analysis of the needs, logistics plan or coordination of volunteering at humanitarian aid centers. Support was needed for other initiatives as well, including saving library collections, buttressing members of NGOs and librarians, or securing refugee documentation (oral history).
Additionally, former “Study Tours to Poland” participants from Ternopil Khrystyna Bilinska (a civil servant and a civic leader) and Mykhailo Syrotyuk (city councilor), initiators of Science Center in Ternopil, have organized a big group of volunteers that engaged among other things in material support for refugees. Science Center in Ternopil which is owned by the network of partners of Young Explorer Clubs program started as part of PAFF’s “Equal Opportunities” Program was transformed into a local humanitarian aid center.