The PCPM Foundation runs the Education Center for Ukrainian kids in Warsaw

The Russian aggression has forced thousands of Ukrainian families to flee. Many children had to pause their education and go to Polish schools. The Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM) has researched the refugees who came to Poland. The most common issue in schools was the language barrier.

– Many children who come to Poland continue the online schooling program in Ukrainian schools. However, it is common to hear Ukrainian mothers mention that it is crucial to create even a substitute for ‘the normal’ so that the kids can go to school with their peers – said Kinga Gromala, the PCPM Education and Creativity Center Project Manager.

The PCPM Foundation workers, after consultation with Ukrainian teachers, concluded that a much more profitable action would be opening an education institution supporting both Ukrainians and Poles. The mBank, the Pfizer Foundation, and CAF America(Charities Aid Foundation America) had financially supported the PCPM in opening the Education Center for 220 children from Ukraine. It is beyond 2.000 square-meter office space in the Zebra Tower office building in Warsaw.

– It is crucial to realize that only three months had passed between the thought and the creation of the school. Our foundation derives from its worldwide experience over the years. We have created a school with certified teaching staff from an education facility in Kyiv – said the PCPM Foundation President, dr Wojciech Wilk.

The children learn in 11 groups following the Ukrainian educational system, allowing them to support Polish schools, which wholeheartedly took in so many kids. Ukrainian teachers working in the Education Center receive their pay from the financial resources of the Cash for Work project by PCPM. An American foundation CARE, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Google, and Pfizer covered the cost. Thanks to the financial contributions, the PCPM can secure jobs for refugee teachers and support the metropolitan education system.

– The PCPM supports local governments, municipalities, and 23 cities in Poland with the employment process. A thousand teachers are working as teacher assistants and supporting the education of 46 000 children. From the start of the war until the end of this school year, the PCPM financially supported the education of Ukrainian children for 18 000 000 dollars total – said, dr Wojciech Wilk. As the foundation president added – thanks to the Cash for Work initiative, we support Polish teachers. The teachers employed by PCPM educate 26 percent of all kids who fled Ukraine because of the war.

The second cornerstone of the Education Center is an intensive Polish language education that will allow the children to acclimatize. It will be significantly easier for them to get into Polish schools if needed.

– We wanted the education at our center to end with a classical Ukrainian certificate. It will allow the children to continue their education in Ukraine in the new school year when the war is over – Kinga Gromala explained.

– The Education Center actively supports parents. The mothers do not have anybody dear who could pick up their children after classes when they are at work. That is why the Education Center has after-class care available from 8 AM to 6 PM. It allows single parents, in particular, to work and have certainty that their child is safe under teachers in the center – added Kinga Gromala, the Project Manager.

The recreation room is also significant. – We use the after-class time to do homework with the kids and create all sources of activities, i.e., oxford debates, discussion classes in Polish and English, acrobatics, theatre, Polish history classes, and art therapy – Kinga Gromala summarized.

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