In the face of the current crisis in Ukraine, WONDER is supporting Ukrainians who are arriving in Poland in search of safety.
Due to the Ukrainian government’s mandate that men stay in the country, most of these refugees are women and young children.
We are committed to meeting the needs of all those fleeing Ukraine for Poland in the coming weeks and months. We are working with our local partners in five different Polish cities: Warsaw, Wroclaw, Katowice, Wadowice and Szczecin. Together, we will provide shelter, safe spaces to study, support in finding work and planning for the future to hundreds of families.
WONDER’s experience supporting Ukrainian migrants in Poland
WONDER’s work in Poland began with the FATIMA Project in 2018. The FATIMA Project launched with the aim of empowering migrant women in the UK, Poland, Slovenia, and Spain by reducing isolation and barriers to integration in a new country.
Each woman enrolled in FATIMA received one-to-one support through language classes, mentoring, personalised development programmes, civic engagement and cultural activities, as well as volunteering and work experience.
In Poland, Ukrainians represent the largest migrant community, even before the current crisis. As a result, our partners in Poland have deep ties to the Ukrainian community in Poland, and long-standing experience working with Ukrainian migrants to help them adjust to life in Poland.
Olga’s Story: Adjusting to life in Poland as a Ukrainian migrant
The following is a story from a Ukrainian woman WONDER has supported through our past work on the FATIMA Project:
In 2016, Olga and her family decided to leave Ukraine and migrate to Poland, in search of better work opportunities.
When she first arrived in Wroclaw, the only Polish words Olga could say were ‘tak’ (yes) and ‘nie’ (no). Although she already spoke both German and English, she struggled to pick up another language while supporting four young children and navigating the immigration system.
After hearing about FATIMA and its language programme, she enrolled for the intensive language courses offered over the weekend. This meant that she worked two jobs throughout the week and spent her weekends learning Polish, convinced that she could improve her family’s opportunities.
After studying and working very hard, Olga received a promotion at work—specifically because of her effective communication with her team. After sacrificing so much, this was a breakthrough moment. In her own words, Olga realised that “I felt human again.” Because of FATIMA, “positive things are happening” in her life in Poland.
How you can help Ukrainian women and children
Polish people are generously mobilising to provide essential items, including food and shelter, to Ukrainians. The local staff and volunteers we support have already helped hundreds.
Long-term support is essential to ensure women and children are not only safe from conflict and immediate danger, but also able to rebuild their lives in Poland. Every donation makes a difference.
You can provide refugees arriving from Ukraine in Poland with the support they need to take care of themselves and their families by making a donation today.