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A Comprehensive “Safe Harbor” for Refugees from Ukraine by Fundacja Polki Mogą Wszystko in Partnership with Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

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Under the project “Safe Harbor,” Fundacja Polki Mogą Wszystko (FPMW) in partnership with Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is providing comprehensive support for families, especially children and women, who had to flee to Poland from war-torn Ukraine. The goal of the project is to improve the situation for at least 1,300 people who have fled Ukraine, including at least 500 children.

The project consists of three main elements. The first element is caring for the physical health of the refugees. In collaboration with the AMEDS health clinics in Warsaw and Grodzisk Mazowiecki, the project is aimed at providing medical care and necessary examinations by a pediatrician, a gynecologist and a family doctor. All three doctors have themselves escaped from the war in Ukraine, and through their participation in the program, they will be able to practice their profession in Poland. The doctors started seeing patients on July 6. Moving forward, a second element of the project will include a mobile medical clinic with the goal to reach refugees in the Masovian Voivodeship who are located outside of larger urban centers, who therefore have more difficult access to free health care. Refugees will also receive support for visits to other medical specialties than those provided by the AMEDS clinic.

The third element is the “Safe Haven” integration space in central Warsaw. The space provides comprehensive support to parents, including Polish language courses, translator support, psychological support, assistance with legal questions, classes for pregnant women and mothers with small children, as well as healthy, vegetarian cooking and nutrition courses. For their children, the space provides fun activities designed by experienced child psychologists and educators. The Safe Haven team currently consists of 12 new employees, the majority of whom are people who fled the war in Ukraine, in addition to the permanent team from FPMW. The project also includes grants to enable community centers in smaller cities across the region to provide activities integrating Polish and Ukrainian children, as well as vouchers for Ukrainian children to join activities such as music or sports outside the center.

The employment of Ukrainian refugees also brings significant benefits for the employees themselves. By being able to practice their profession, they gain a sense of stability and security. Thanks to this, they can create a new home in Poland for themselves and their children.

Safe Haven is a place where any person who escaped from the war in Ukraine can come, regardless of whether they plan to participate in scheduled activities. One day, a girl visited the space in a crisis. The psychologist from Safe Haven talked with her for over 2 hours that day, helping her stabilize her mental state and possibly saving her life.

Alina, one of the visitors to the psychologist at Safe Haven, shared: “It was very difficult to leave my happy life in Ukraine and wait atthe border with a small child for ten hours in the cold of winter, not knowing whether I will have enough money to feed my son and whether we will be able to adapt to the new realities. The sessions with [the psychologist] Ms. Oksana have been very helpful for me; I am learning to work with my problems and feelings, and I receive support and valuable feedback.

I am learning to enjoy life and build a happy future for myself and my son.” Fundacja Polki Mogą Wszystko is a non-profit organization established by the Edipresse publishing house on the initiative of the employees. The Foundation was established to implement long-term assistance programs that can measurably and permanently improve the difficult situation of its beneficiaries. For more information, visit fpmw.pl.

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is a global non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1966 by Buddhist nun Dharma Master Cheng Yen. Its missions of medicine, charity, education, and humanistic culture have brought relief to over 127 countries. The heart of Tzu Chi is embedded in its name: in Chinese, “Tzu” means compassion and “Chi” relief, to relieve the suffering of those in need while creating a better world for all through compassion, love and hope. For more information, visit tzuchi.us.

For additional information and media inquiries, please write to Johan Alwall, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, johan.alwall@us.tzuchi.org or Joanna Kuzebska, Fundacja Polki Mogą Wszystko, joanna.kuzebska@fpmw.pl.

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