The world admired Polish solidarity in February a year ago when Russia attacked Ukraine. Then thousands of Poles went to help at the border, then at railway stations, and finally in their homes, welcoming all those who were fleeing from the war. That was 542 days ago. How is today?
Nearly a year ago, over three hundred people – mainly women with children – found their new home in the Mieszko hotel in Gorzów Wielkopolski. It’s crowded there now. – When I was traveling from Ukraine, I had one child who was four months old in one hand, and the other child who is 9 years old in the other and it’s good that they welcomed us here – recalls Tatiana Saczkowska.
Immediately after the Russian attack on Ukraine, the owner of the hotel did not hesitate for a moment and welcomed Ukrainians fleeing the war instead of inviting tourists. They made a big family there. We don’t expect gratitude. We are counting on cooperation, which is almost with everyone. They are very friendly, polite and helpful. I cannot say a bad word about the residents in our hotel – emphasizes Les Gondor, president of the hotel.
In addition to sleeping places, guests must be provided with meals, medical and legal assistance. Everything costs even more than last year, but nobody gives up. The hotel is under renovation to accommodate another 80 people. – I believe that Ukraine will win and we will all go home. I am very grateful to Poland and Poles who help us – says Olha Moiseienko.
Soon you will also have to think about the money needed for heating. There is an online fundraiser. – This hotel is just like Noah’s Ark at the moment, it is such a huge asylum, support – emphasizes Agnieszka Holland, director.
Help in learning a language or in finding a home
It has been a year and a half since the beginning of the Ukrainian nightmare and the support of Poles. – At the very beginning, it was immediate help that was needed at the borders, in reception centers, such basic products, basic help, and now we help in a way more related to integration assistance, language learning – explains Helena Krajewska from the Polish Humanitarian Action.
Since the beginning of the war, over 14.5 million Ukrainians have entered Poland from Ukraine, and 13 million have left. Those who stayed – thanks to, among others, the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation – can learn Polish, complete a babysitting or beauty course or get a driving license.
Mrs. Natalia Skrypka and her two sons found a flat thanks to the foundation’s help. – We pay the deposit and the first rent in the apartment, and then half of the rent for the next 5 months – informs Jan Wysocki from the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation.
August 19 is International Humanitarian Day. This help is needed by people in many corners of the world – help in reaching drinking water, food, medicines, and sometimes help in learning the most common activities for us.
Main photo source: TVN24