Photo. Agata Kubis
Ocalenie Foundation works for children and youth with refugee and migration experience. We are committed to ensuring a safe environment for them to learn, play and develop. Since 2018 we have been running a tutoring and scholarship program “Wiedza do Potęgi” (“Knowledge to the Max”), aimed at supporting education of foreign children and youth – primarily young people with learning difficulties and at risk of dropping out. For more than 10 years we have been running youth center in Łomża, and in reaction to Russian invasion on Ukraine, we created youth centres in Warsaw and Chelm. We offer psychological help for children and youth through our Help Center for Foreigners.
Youth center in Łomża
Children and youth with refugee and migration experience, often after traumatic experiences, breaks in study, without a knowledge of the Polish language, face the difficult challenge of starting education in a new country, in a foreign language. In order to make it easier for them to start and continue their education at a Polish school, we have opened a youth centre at the Help Centre for Foreigners in Łomża. Children receive help in learning Polish language and doing their homework. Artistic, culinary, sports and integration activities also take place there.
During non-school days, the children participate in excursions, camps and other activities organised by the Foundation. Currently, about 15 children attend the Youth Center.
Photo. Damian Lemański
Child and youth support in Warsaw
Our children & youth program team based in Warsaw coordinates activities addressing the needs of this group. The largest project dedicated to support children and youth is “Wiedza do Potęgi” (“Knowledge to the Max”), carried out in cooperation with the BNP Paribas Foundation since 2018. It is a tutoring program, aimed at supporting education of foreign youth – primarily young people with learning difficulties and at risk of dropping out. Participants of the program benefit from learning support (individual meetings with a tutor), workshops, as well as educational and cultural outings. Coordinators are also in constant contact with families of the participants, offering them the necessary support.
In 2022, 118 pupils from Chechnya, Tajikistan and Ukraine, among others, benefited from the tutoring programme in Warsaw. In the 2022/2023 school year, 100 children with migration and refugee experience were accepted into the programme. As part of the “Wiedza do Potęgi” (“the Knowledge to Max”) project, in the 2022/2023 school year – 32 children are receiving scholarships.
Organizing these activities is possible thanks to the enormous commitment of several dozen volunteers working with children. In the 2022/2023 school year, over 80 volunteers have become involved in the program.
Fot. Damian Lemański
Children Friendly Spaces at the reception points and long-term accommodation centers for people fleeing the war in Ukraine
Children Friendly Spaces were established on March 2022 in order to increase the safety of children crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border and provide them with adequate care. First one was open just two weeks after the beginning of the invasion. There were a places for rest and play for children, where Foundation’s staff and volunteers organised sports and creative activities – giving children’s guardians (usually independent mothers) time to relax, think about what to do next or contact their families, while their children are looked after by responsible adults.
Similar Children Friendly Spaces have been established in the long-term accommodation centers in Masovian Voivodeship and Lublin Voivodeship. In 2022, In 2022, 21 such spaces were created. Children Friendly Spaces play educational role – children and youth receive help with their studies, take Polish language courses and benefit from animation, sports, art, language or social skills training. More than 200 hours of activities take place in the centres every week.
Children-friendly spaces are created in partnership with Save the Children.
Youth canters for children from Ukraine
Youth centers provide support for children fleeing the war in Ukraine and reduce the risk of educational exclusion. Thanks to them, children’s parents and guardians have an opportunity and time to work and organise their life in Poland. In 2022, day-cares in Chelm and Warsaw were created (4 are currently operating). In every one of them, An average of 30-40 children attend each of them. In every center, we conduct Polish-language classes, tutoring sessions, excursions and variety of workshops. Children receive educational support, which makes it easier for them to function in the Polish school system or to study remotely in Ukrainian schools.
In 2023, another youth centre is planned in Lodz, where out Help Centre for Foreigners is operating.
In addition to permanent activities, the Ocalenie Foundation also runs other projects to support children and youth: tutoring and extra classes in subjects causing most difficulties to students (Polish, maths, physics, chemistry), going to cinemas, theatres, museums and galleries, sports and integration activities, theatre classes.
In September (when the school year begins) children receive school kits, and in December – Christmas gifts.