It’s been three months since the war in Ukraine broke out. The PCPM Foundation provides medical assistance, and other forms of support from the very beginning of the conflict
Three months have passed since Russia attacked Ukraine. Due to the ongoing hostilities in the invaded country, over 3.3 million refugees came to Poland alone, the vast majority of which were women and children. From the first day of the conflict, the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation (PCPM) provides help to those in need both in Poland and in Ukraine itself, where the number of internal refugees is estimated at 7.7 million people.
Thanks to the experience in providing aid in Ukraine dating back to 2014, the foundation was able to implement aid procedures almost immediately. The PCPM undertakes for Ukraine and refugees several activities. These include:
– launching a permanent fundraiser to help the Ukrainians at pcpm.org.pl/ukraina
– sending recurrent transports with humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including sanitation, medical equipment, food
– emergency employment program for teachers and interpreters from Ukraine „Cash for Work” program
– two programs launched together with the American organization CARE and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) – the Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance Program (MPCAP) and the Targeted-Purpose Cash Assistance Program (TCAP). The second project is intended for refugees unable to work (pregnant women, with small children, people with disabilities and their guardians, pensioners over 60 years of age)
– in partnership with the NRC organization, running a transit point for refugees from Ukraine at Warsaw East station, where several hundred people arrive each day, and several dozen receive medical assistance
– the launch of two PCPM Educational and Creative Centers (CEK) for mothers with children from Ukraine in Warsaw. The first point operates in cooperation with mBank, the second CEK operates in a facility provided by the Association of Polish Architects (SARP)
– organizing medical transports in emergencies
– running a logistic office of PCPM in Lviv and an evacuation center for Ukrainian internally displaced persons (IDPs) near Kremenchuk, there is also one of the humanitarian aid warehouses
– establishing cooperation with UNHCR regarding humanitarian aid to another 3,000 refugee families in Lublin
– establishing cooperation with Airbnb, which allocated funds for the rental of apartments for refugees from Ukraine
– scholarships for gifted refugee students from Ukraine. Support for students of music universities from Kyiv and Kharkiv
– organizing charity auctions for Ukraine in cooperation with Allegro.pl, gazeta.pl and Ukrayina.pl.
Each action carried out in the last quarter to aid Ukraine includes several smaller initiatives.
RECURRENT TRANSPORTS OF HUMANITARIAN AID TO UKRAINE
The PCPM Foundation on regular basis transports humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Every week, the support leaves our warehouse near Warsaw and goes to the Ukrainian counterpart in Lviv. From there, cargoes are distributed to other points throughout Ukraine, incl. Kiev, Kharkiv or Kremenchuk on the Dnieper. Each transport differs in its content. PCPM provides the most needed support, incl.: medical aid, drugs, sanitary measures, and medical equipment, also AED defibrillators, USG, or ECG. In addition, we provide our neighbors with food, including specialist food for children and babies, hygiene products, clothes, sleeping bags, mats, and power generators. One of the last transports to the city of Sumy in north-eastern Ukraine carried seeds for Ukrainian farmers. ‘Ukraine is a key country for the global food supply chain. The war in this country will certainly have long-term effects on food security in many regions of the world. It is not only about Europe, the effects of the conflict in Ukraine in this matter will also be felt in North Africa and the Middle East – assessed Dr. Wojciech Wilk, CEO of the PCPM foundation and UN expert in crisis management.
EMPLOYMENT OF TEACHERS FROM UKRAINE
Emergency employment for people fleeing the war from Ukraine is implemented under the ‘Cash for Work’ PCPM program. This is a program implemented by the foundation earlier during humanitarian missions in the Middle East and Ukraine after 2014, where it was directed mainly to refugees from Donbas. The aim of it is to offer refugees employment that will allow them to obtain a source of income and become independent from humanitarian aid and at the same time relieve local governments, offices, and institutions dealing with the refugee crisis. ‘This is the first time that we have implemented such a project in Poland. However, we are dealing with the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II – said the UN expert. During the current crisis related to the direct Russian invasion of Ukraine, the foundation, in cooperation with local governments, employs teachers and interpreters from Ukraine in schools. As part of the ‘Cash for Work’ program – emergency employment of refugees, we employed over 570 people. The program is implemented in cooperation with 10 cities (Lublin, Warsaw, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Garwolin, Siedlce, Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Szczecin, Wrocław, Goleniów).
Participants of the ‘Cash for Work’ program work in the areas of education, psychological support, translations, refugee support at reception points, and legal help. Wages are financed by the US CARE organization and are paid weekly based on timesheets. Teachers’ assistants support students from Ukraine not only in their learning, but also in the adaptation process to the new environment, and mediate in student-teacher or parent-school contacts. Adult and children refugees living in Lublin, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Garwolin, Szczecin, and Wrocław can benefit from psychological support in the Ukrainian language.
In May PCPM launched the Targeted-Purpose Cash Assistance Program (TCAP). A program that is destined for refugees unable to work (pregnant women, young children, people with disabilities and their guardians, and pensioners over 60 years of age). So far, over 300 people have benefited from the assistance, including over 100 people with disabilities. Each person will receive monthly PLN 710 (approx. 150 EUR) for six months. The project implemented in previous months was the Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance Program (MCAP), financed by NRC and CARE and from PCPM’s funds. It was used by 2,575 families in 10 cities: Lublin, Gdynia, Władysławowo, Hel, Otwock, Łódź, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Białystok, Sroków and Kętrzyn.
SUPPORT FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
In addition to the teacher employment program conducted with local governments, PCPM has also established cooperation with administrative units in other fields. These are the employment of refugees to support social welfare, support in the general employment process, including language courses, sanitary-epidemiological certification (obligatory in Poland for HoReCa workers), relocation to work in another town, financing activities for school-age children during summer, support for local government institutions providing social assistance for refugees from Ukraine and humanitarian aid for refugees who are not able to work: the elderly and disabled people and their guardians.
PARTNERSHIP WITH CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS
Another action aimed at financially supporting Ukraine is establishing a PCPM partnership with cultural organizations and institutions. At the beginning of the cooperation under the initiative „Artists for Ukraine”, we managed to raise almost one million PLN (approx. 220 000 EUR). The money was donated by popular polish musical artists, among others Dawid Podsiadło, Sokół, Young Leosia, Taco Hemingway, and rapper Bedoes. The activities of PCPM also supported other entities from the world of Polish culture. These were, i.a.: Katarzyna Napiórkowska Gallery, publishing houses – Wydawnictwo Literackie and Wydawnictwo ZNAK. On the other hand, at the ‘Niebo’ club in Warsaw, we managed to organize a concert for Ukraine called ‘You don’t know what to do? Just do good!’, which included several national stage artists. Income from the tickets was passed on to support PCPM’s activities for Ukraine. The most recent cooperation of the foundation is establishing a joint and long-term action with the Association of Art and Entertainment Events (SOIAR). The association is responsible for most of the concerts and festivals taking place in Poland. During the upcoming events organized by SOIAR, the organizers will encourage people to support fundraising for Ukraine. In addition, a popular Polish radio ‘ESKA’ joined the cooperation with PCPM. They helped promote auctions for Ukraine organized with the Foundation’s partner Allegro. pl (the most popular sales website in Poland, like eBay).
PARTNERSHIP WITH BUSINESS
Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, a significant number of businesses and corporations have contacted PCPM offering donations. The Foundation’s team has been working intensively on contact and handling of payments since the first day of the war.
PCPM’S WELFARE FOR REFUGEES IN POLAND
The main initiative dedicated to the refugees from Ukraine is the Transit Center run by PCPM at Warsaw East Railway Station. For most of the people fleeing war, it serves as the first stop in Poland on the way to their final destinations. On the site, those in need may receive, among others medical assistance and a hot meal at any time of the day or night, psychologist’s help, material assistance (clothes, buggies for children, etc.), necessary aids for pets traveling with their owners (transporters, feed, leashes, etc.), or free Polish SIM cards. Since the transit center opened on March 25, over 19,000 refugees (source: the Warsaw mayor’s office) have passed through it. Together with local food cooperatives, the refugee transit center provides 2,500 meals a day, 500 extra meals for those staying longer, 1,500 snacks for children, and special foods for diabetics. At each stage of their stay in the transit center, refugees are looked after by volunteers who provide basic assistance and information 24 hours a day. A team of paramedics and doctors present on the spot is responsible for medical assistance.
At the transit center constructed by PCPM, there are also stands of organizations and institutions providing further transport for the refugees. Everyone in need, after consultation, can receive a train, bus, or plane ticket to a specific destination for themselves and their family. It is also possible to organize a temporary apartment for 30 days for those in need as part of PCPM’s cooperation with Airbnb. Cities in which we have located them so far include Gdańsk, Warsaw, Olsztyn, Toruń, Kraków, Katowice, Giżycko, Szczecin, Poznań, and Zielona Góra.
Moreover, the foundation organized and manages two PCPM Educational and Creative Centers (CEK) for mothers with children from Ukraine in Warsaw. The first was created in cooperation with mBank at Królewska Street in the capital’s central district, and the second, also in the same quarter, is set on Foksal Street. The partners of the second community center are the Warsaw branch and the Main Board of the Association of Polish Architects (SARP), the National Institute of Architecture and Town Planning (NIAiU), the Association of Interior Architects (SAW), and the Mazovian District Chamber of Architects.
In both assistance points, women can leave their children under professional care in the mornings and afternoons so they can deal with the most important matters related to their stay in Poland in the meantime. On-site assistance is also offered in the field of career counseling, looking for a job, or writing a CV. Moreover, women and children have access to a psychologist working at the Center. Finally, an intensive Polish language course is also offered at this point.
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