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A million refugees passed through Warsaw

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Since February 24, 2022, over 1.1 million refugees from Ukraine have passed through Warsaw. In the first days of the war, up to 40,000 people applied for help every day.

Currently, there are still over 100,000 Ukrainian citizens in the capital, including 17,000 youth and children attending municipal educational institutions – kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. In the last 12 months, 359 Ukrainian children were born in Warsaw’s hospitals. Currently, about 7,000 people reach the capital. refugees per week, of which approx. 95 percent continues on its journey, the capital city hall announced.

In 2022, Warsaw allocated PLN 52 million to help refugees from local government funds alone.

Accommodation centers and free transport were launched

In the capital, information points and accommodation centers for Ukrainians fleeing the war were opened overnight after the Russian invasion. Eight of them are still operating and over 1.8 thousand people live there.

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– All refugees staying in them, in addition to accommodation, are also provided with full board – emphasized the town hall, adding that they can additionally benefit from psychological support, career counseling, learning Polish, and children additionally from activities supporting their development and mental health. Thanks to cooperation with UNICEF, 45 social workers, 25 family assistants and 20 employees who help Ukrainian citizens on a daily basis have been employed in municipal social welfare centres.

At the beginning of the war, from February 26 to May 31, 2022, refugees used free public transport. According to data from the Public Transport Authority, over 156,000 people were transported between the stay and information points.

Varsovians rushed to help – 12,000 volunteers

In the most difficult moment of the refugee crisis, people from Warsaw also came to the rescue. They organized food and clothing collections, but also made their houses and flats available to Ukrainians in need. Many residents also got involved in volunteering – a total of over 12,000 people.

Due to the influx of Ukrainians, Warsaw was supported by aid organizations such as: Norwegian Refugee Council, Polish Center for International Aid, Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, World Central Kitchen and UNHCR.

To this day, refugees are covered by social assistance. Nearly 50,000 people have benefited from it so far.

Warsaw culture also shows solidarity with the Ukrainian nation and supports people who have found shelter in Poland. In March 2022, the “Intervention Scholarships” program for artists was announced. One-time scholarships of up to PLN 5,000 were paid to artists from Ukraine who were forced to leave their homeland by the war.

Point for people looking for a job

Already on March 15, 2022, at 77/79 Marszałkowska Street, a point for people from Ukraine was launched. – Refugees can register there, look for job offers and training, and qualified employees of the point speak Ukrainian or Russian – the city hall reported. From the beginning of the operation of the point until December 31, 2022, 5,561 people were registered, of which 4,871 were women (88 percent). Among those registering from the beginning, people with higher education dominate, they constitute 61 percent of the total, the second large group, amounting to 33 percent, are people with secondary education. 42% of refugees declare knowledge of the Polish language and 34% of the knowledge of English.

Together with the Staromiejski Dom Kultury, the city also joined the “Cash for work” program, i.e. interventional employment of refugees from Ukraine in cultural institutions. It was possible thanks to the support of the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation – the program implementer. Thanks to this cooperation, at the end of last year, 70 people who fled Ukraine because of the war started permanent work in Warsaw’s cultural institutions. They are actors, choreographers, artists, cultural managers.

Saving Ukrainian monuments

In the first months of the war, the mayor of Warsaw established the House for the Reconstruction of Ukraine (DOU). – This is an initiative that supports Ukrainian local governments in the difficult war time in securing monuments and places of historical significance – explained the town hall.

In the first months of the war, the Warsaw Conservation Officer and his partners organized the collection and shipment of fire-fighting materials and equipment. They were used to protect the monuments from shelling and further damage. Power generators are being shipped at the moment.

DOU is in contact with representatives of the conservation services of Ukrainian cities, e.g. from Kharkov, Kherson, Dnieper, Kiev, Lviv, Lutsk, Mykolaiv and Odessa. Thanks to the funds granted by the Council of Warsaw, 50 windows were purchased and installed in the historic library in Chernihiv, destroyed by the attacks.

Events prepared for the anniversary of Russian aggression

Long-term funding for the years 2023-2025 in festival competitions was received by the organizers of Ukraine Film Festival and Days of Ukrainian Music in Warsaw. And next to the Museum of Modern Art, Solidarny Dom Kultury “Słonecznik” was established. The Second Strefa Theater in Warsaw, on the other hand, has been very active in supporting artists from Ukraine since the beginning of the war, giving them their space and the opportunity to speak and present their work.

In connection with the anniversary, Warsaw institutions invite you to special events. Center for Film Culture them. Andrzej Wajda is organized on February 24 at 18 Europe-Ukraine Forum: Culture and Resistance. And the magazine “Frieze” in cooperation with Solidarny Dom Kultury “Słonecznik” and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw invite you to the event “Forms of resistance. A conversation about how to save Ukrainian art and culture”.

The Second Strefa Theater invites you to the resumption of the performance “We pray that everything will be fine” on February 24, which is a shocking record of the first days of the conflict in Ukraine. On February 25, the performance “Noc Helvera” will be shown. Both performances were directed by Sylwester Biraga.

In connection with the anniversary celebrations, one of the most exposed places in the capital – the escarpment at Warsaw’s Nike – will be a reminder of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The inscription #Let’s not forget was planted with pansies in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Main photo source: City Hall of Warsaw

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