The PCPM Foundation supports local governments and the Polish education system. The Foundation employs workers from Ukraine
The “Cash for Work” program, which is assumed to be a short-term intervention employment program, in Poland has become a long-term commitment towards local governments, education departments, educational institutions, and most importantly refugees from Ukraine.
The assumption of the project was to give relief to public institutions by delegating employees from Ukraine with specific qualifications to work. These people were supposed to be helpful and supportive in all the places where the language barrier was a problem or where the number of children in schools was increasing day by day. It turned out that schools were the places that most willingly wanted to cooperate under the proprietary program of the PCPM Foundation, because they found themselves in a completely new situation.
Employing teachers from Ukraine was intended to support teachers and school principals in communication with pupils and their parents. However, their role was not limited only to translating. They also support the preparatory departments, and – depending on their skills – the employed ladies (as mostly women came to Poland after February 24, 2022) help children with lessons in specific subjects. They became babysitters, and confidants, but also often the first contact point for parents of pupils from Ukraine.
The aim of the program was also to make independent and to include in the labor market people from Ukraine who wanted to work in their profession. Above all, however, to ensure their financial stability and independence from social assistance.
In March 2022, the PCPM Foundation staff took part in an on-line meeting organized by the Union of Polish Metropolises. The purpose of this meeting was to introduce the “Cash for Work” project to the representatives of cities and communes. PCPM also participated in a local government conference in Wrocław at the beginning of May, where information actions were conducted aimed at large and medium-sized cities. At the end of March, PCPM employed nearly 50 teachers’ assistants and delegated them to work in educational institutions in the city of Lublin. The Foundation treated the project as a pilot one, but more and more cities applied to the PCPM by e-mails, website as the info appeared in the Polish and foreign media.
Employees of the program were receiving several applications throughout the country a day from various institutions, representatives of local authorities or candidates for the position of teacher’s assistant. Over time, new cities willing to cooperate joined the program. In 2022, PCPM established cooperation with 21 cities, employing 1,050 people as teachers’ assistants.
According to the assumptions of the project, the partner institutions that responded to the PCPM’s information activities and decided to join the program were fully responsible for recruiting potential employees and supervising their work daily. Importantly, given the unprecedented and emergency nature of the project, different strategies have been adopted by partner institutions to identify eligible candidates as quickly as possible. In almost all schools participating in the project, assistants were selected and assigned by the local authorities, who – as being in charge of educational institutions – knew their needs and challenges best.
Most of the schools with which the PCPM Foundation has been cooperating since March and April 2022 are still in the program in 2023. The employed ladies have become part of the school community, and their help and support seem invaluable.
The implementation of the “Cash for Work” program has been possible thanks to the cooperation with CARE, IRC, Taiwan and the Pfizer Foundation.