His Fuel is the Belief in Equality for All

December 1, 2022
By Amloud Alamir

Karol Wilczyński does not do small talk. For nine years he has been on the front lines working for people on the move. Faced daily with the double standards of Europe’s policies towards refugees, the last one and half years have been more straining than ever. This is not only about the people on the move, says Karol. It’s about human rights and equality.

Photo: Amloud Alamir

Karol Wilczyński is a Polish activist who has never stopped helping those stranded on the border. He doesn’t agree with his governments attitude towards refugees on the Belarus border.
– I believe in Europe, Poland and the world, equal for everyone, so I can not accept the fact that there are some people who are pushed back, who are not allowed to apply and there are some who are. I believe we should treat everyone equally.

People support the violence
– Regarding the refugees sent here by the Belarusian regime and Lukashenka, I believe that most of the Polish people and even the opposition, they support the actions of the Polish government, which means that most of them support the building of the wall, support the pushbacks, support the violence against the migrants, who are used as a weapon.


– But I completely disagree. I believe that accepting these people and letting them apply for asylum, maybe deporting them but from Poland, not by pushbacks, would be very effective in taking the weapon out of the hands of Lukashenka.

Karol Wilczyński believes that anyone can make a difference as long as they believe in their cause.
– As a co-creator of Grupa Granica, the Border Group, as well as co-creator of Salam Lab, one of the biggest NGO’s working in my hometown, Krakow, we helped tens of thousands of people since last year, and I believe this is a difference.

Pay a high price
Many volunteers do not stop working for others, even though they pay a high price, which can be their freedom.

–There were a few cases where they go to jail or where arrested for awhile for just helping, and I believe the situation wont change until the government change. A lot of activist, including me, we pay a high price for working on this.

– I used to say I wouldn’t invite myself for coffee, because usually I am so much into my work that I think about it and it’s heart issues and it’s really hard to find these easy topics and small talk. But on the other hand I believe it’s super important for us as activists to be out and have this 8-9 hours a day to think of the work and then just turn off.

Find allies
– In this kind of work that we do on the Polish-Belarusian or the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, it is important to find allies, because these organisations and these activists are completely alone sometimes. They don’t have funding, they don’t have capacity to manage these cases. And the big international NGO’s, politicians, European Union should help.

– This is not only about the people on the move, but it is a bigger case of human rights and equality. It is about European Union values, and that is why people who believe in these values should get engaged.

Karol Wilczyński

Karol Wilczyński is an activist, educator, peace journalist, and communication strategist, and provides media and social media training.
For the past 9 years he has been involved in work with people on the move and forced migration. He has lobbied for creating a developed migration policy in Poland and EU as a member of A World of Neighbours Network. He graduated from the inter-faculty humanities studies with pedagogical specialization at the Jagiellonian University and wrote his doctoral dissertation on Arabic philosophy and bridges Greek and Arab cultures in the Middle Ages as part of the Artes Liberales Academy, Warsaw.
He is the co-founder of Salam Lab and Grupa Granica.

Karol is a pracitioner within a World of Neighbours network.