„The motivation and perseverance of Ukrainian women surpassed even the most optimistic assessments of experts. They did not expect a high level of employment of Ukrainians” – reads the Ukrainian portal “Hromadske”. The same source reports for comparison that in 2017 – the year of the highest influx of Ukrainian migrants to Poland – 250,000 workers come to Poland, while in just the first two months since February 24, more than 100,000 Ukrainians were hired.
„For many employers in Poland, the influx of Ukrainians has become an opportunity to fill the staffing gaps they have long faced. They began to publish job ads in the Ukrainian language, opening up opportunities in the labor market. The ads were mainly for vacancies where no knowledge of the Polish language was required” – Aleksandra Wesołowska, a PR manager at praca.pl, commented for the Ukrainian portal.
New employees also mean new needs. The refugees from Ukraine, who came to Poland after February 24, 2022, often had to adapt to the new conditions in a new country in a spontaneous way. In such difficult circumstances, work was often not only a source of income but also a tool that helped in faster adaptation in exile. The vast majority of all these people are women and children, which creates further challenges, including one in the education field. “Only in Warsaw 17,000 children from Ukraine were admitted to schools and kindergartens” – says Dr. Wojciech Wilk, the CEO of the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation (PCPM). Out of the need to help people forced to flee the war and to support Polish schools, PCPM has hired 850 Ukrainian teaching assistants.
“Teacher’s assistants establish communication with children and parents, they help to understand the child. In one of the schools in Lublin, there was a case when a boy was frightened by the sound of a helicopter and he hid under the table during the lesson, the teacher and children did not know how to react, and only the assistant immediately realized what was going on and knew how to help. Sometimes only someone who has gone through a similarly difficult situation can understand what a child feels” – told „Hromadske” Aleksandra Wojtaszek, coordinator of the project to hire teacher assistants from the Foundation.
To support Ukrainian children in Poland, the PCPM has also created the Education and Creativity Center and the Education Center in Warsaw, where 220 children studying in the Ukrainian educational system attend. In addition, the Foundation employs 16 teachers, a psychologist, a speech therapist and a nurse there.
In addition to employment in Polish schools, the Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM) supported approx. 350 refugee men and women in finding work in Polish offices, community centers, libraries and common rooms.
Since December, the PCPM „Cash for Work” program has also been implemented in local governments in Ukraine, where the Foundation supports the employment of over half a thousand people – both displaced persons and local unemployed.