Volunteers Needed in Poland

June 10, 2022
By Magdalena Wernefeldt

Join Salam Lab staff and hundreds of Polish volunteers for a week or more, working to help people fleeing Ukraine and people who are trapped between Belarus and Poland.

Photo: Kraków Help Center

Since last summer, civil society organisations in Poland have organised aid in response to the humanitarian crisis on the border to Belarus, saving people’s lives. This situation had not been solved when Russia invaded Ukraine and the humanitarian needs were raised to a new level.

Aid to thousands of people

Help Center “Live in Kraków” was established by Salam Lab and two Ukrainian NGOs on the first day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the first three months, the centre provided aid to more than 46 000 people: gave intervention shelter to 3 600 people, housed safely 9 613 people in private apartments and hotels, received more than 15 000 calls in Polish and Ukrainian and 20 000 people went through the centre, receiving information, essential medical, psychological or legal assistance.

Over three months into the war, Help Center “Live in Kraków” is still operating as information, help desk and support centre, though no longer offering emergency accommodation. The situation is changing and Help Center has adjusted their work.

Cultural end educational projects

– Recently we have launched SPA (Space of Public Activities) a special project and invite anyone interested in co-creating projects of artistic, cultural and educational nature in cooperation with Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, says Karol Wilczyński, founder of SalamLab.

Photo: Kraków Help Center

Volunteers are still needed. Especially people speaking Polish, Ukrainian, Farsi and Arabic. Volunteers only speaking English can help out at the border to Belarus or at the SPA.

– We need help with regular work of the Help Centre – giving information to beneficiaries at help desk and call center; accompanying refugees in finding information needed.

Stressful situations

This type of work is only for those speaking Polish, Ukrainian or Russian.
– We have refugee families who need to be accompanied in finding job, health care and education. These are mainly Ukrainian families and rarely Afghans, speaking Dari/Farsi or Syrians, speaking Arabic. Some of them speak English.

There is also a need for volunteers at the Belarusian border.
– We need people experienced in working in very critical and stressful situations. Volunteers who go for interventions in the forest, are being exposed to attacks from the Polish authorities.

Interested to help?

Volunteers need to arrange travel and accommodation on their own. Volunteering at the Help Center in Kraków, Salam Lab provides hot meals, drinks and refreshments. Help with transport in the Kraków area can be arranged. For volunteers working at the Intervention Point on the Polish-Belarusian border accommodation and food is provided.

Minimum stay is one week:

  • Kraków – 5 work days, minimum 4 hours per day.
  • The Polish-Belarusian border – 3 work days, minimum 12 hours per day.

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