Ocalenie Foundation in 2020: a yearly summary

In 2020, the situation of people we support: asylum seekers, refugees and migrants living in Poland, became particularly difficult. Many of our clients lost their jobs and livelihoods. The crisis was visible both in the avalanche increase in the number of consultations we provide (46% more than in 2019), and in the nature of problems faced by our clients.

However, the crisis situation also triggered empathy and solidarity. Companies, institutions, and, above all, individual donors responded to our calls for support almost 4000 times! We were also helped by 172 volunteers. Thanks to this support, we were able to organize emergency assistance for our clients and keep on running our regular programs without much interruptions.

In the past year, 2321 people received support from the Ocalenie team (cultural mentors, lawyers, psychologist, family assistants etc.) and nearly 1000 benefited from in-kind assistance. In April 2020, due to the crisis caused by the pandemic and lockdown, we started providing food assistance on a large scale.

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Ocalenie Foundation’s regular activities

Our Help Centers for Foreigners helped people in Warsaw and Łomża, offering them legal and psychological consultations, support in contacting various offices and institutions, solving daily challenges, like finding a job or renting a flat. Since the first lockdown in mid-March, the Centers have also begun offering emergency assistance to people who were left destitute or homeless overnight.

In 2020, we offered to our clients:

  • 5273 consultations of cultural mentors,
  • 1384 legal consultations,
  • 398 psychological consultations for children and adults.

In addition, we ran free Polish courses for adults in Warsaw and Łomża, attended by 634 people.

We also helped refugee and migrant kids. In Łomża we ran an after-school club, and in Warsaw, as part of our programs (Knowledge to power, MINT), we offered children school support and we were available to their parents, whenever they found themselves helpless against the education system. Moreover, we organized additional (fun!) maths classes, an online Polish course, and sport activities during summer holidays.

105 kids participated in regular activities offered by Ocalenie. In the school year 2019/2020 ten of them received a monthly scholarship; a year later, the number of scholarship holders increased to 14.

We ran two housing programs: Witaj w Domu (Welcome Home) and Refugees Welcome Poland. In the first one, we helped large refugee families to adapt to life in Poland, and in the second – we provided support to refugees who came here alone or with one or two relatives. We also offered emergency, short-term housing support to people who were in a particularly difficult situation due to the pandemic.

A total of 173 people (including 93 children) benefited from our housing support.

The life situation of many of our clients deteriorated significantly in 2020, so we provided material assistance on a very large scale:

  • 846 people (including 444 children) received food aid.
  • During 857 visits to Magazin (our material help center), 303 people and their families received support.
  • 403 children received school kits.
  • 103 children received Christmas presents.
  • We distributed 48 computers for distance learning.


Remaining activities

In March we launched Corona News series, where we present updated information on pandemics in 9 languages; we also started collecting and upgrading computers, which were later donated to kids who didn’t have tools for online learning, after the schools were closed;

In April we started issuing food aid; we have also launched the “Get it done” series, where we publish advice for foreigners living in Poland in 3 languages;

In May we turned 20! We accepted gifts, but the big party had to be postponed …

In June we launched the Help Center for Victims of Torture – by the end of 2020 103 people benefited from its support (legal, psychological or medical).

In July and August we tried to arrange ‘normal’ holidays for the kids – 65 of them were taking part in sports activities in Warsaw and Łomża on a regular basis; we also organized additional math classes; at the same time we started running culinary workshops and multicultural animations for children;

In September we organized the 4th Refugees Welcome Charity Art Auction (online); thanks to your support, we also prepared and distributed school kits for 403 children.

In December, 103 children received their dream Christmas gifts!


Our team expanded

In 2020, 8 new people joined our team: a psychologist, a cultural mentor, a family assistant and a project coordinator.


The support for Ocalenie

Most importantly, we were not alone in all of this!

  • We were financially supported by individual donors, institutions and companies over 4000 times,
  • Over 300 people supported us with material donations,
  • 172 volunteers helped our clients by running Polish language classes, supporting children in learning, helping refugees with integrating into the society, or engaging in various organizational matters.

Thank you for being with us in 2020!

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