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+39 06 89 9281

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Terminal report of the post-emergency response in Poland for Ukrainian refugees

2024-03-13 09:47



Terminal report of the post-emergency response in Poland for Ukrainian refugees

The post-emergency project, "Rebuilding and strengthening resilience for adaptation and integration of Ukrainian refugees in Poland", attempts to respond to the

The post-emergency project ‘Rebuilding and Strengthening Resilience for the Adaptation and Integration of Ukrainian Refugees in Poland’ seeks to respond to the significant gaps in assistance provided to Ukrainian refugees.


The project is designed to help Ukrainian refugees gradually adapt and integrate into Polish society. The expected outcomes (objectives) are threefold: that Ukrainian refugees are (a) settled in a regular flat (RESTORATION), (b) engaged in part-time or full-time work or self-employment (STAYING), and (c) that children receive nursery and primary education (PROTECTION). The primary beneficiaries of this project are refugees who have been in the care of the Camillians in Ursus and Lomianki since May 2022. The secondary beneficiaries are walk-ins who have been in Poland since last year and are looking for help in finding housing, work and a school for their children. Ninety-five per cent of them have decided to rebuild and restart their lives in Poland together with their families in the near future.

By the fourth quarter (2023), the target had reached a realisation rate of 100%. It was achieved by providing stable housing and employment (part-time or full-time). As of December 2023, a total of 82 refugees, including children and the elderly, directly benefit from all services provided by the project in Ursus and Łomianki. 39 refugees have found employment and almost half (41%) are self-employed using their skills and talents. On the other hand, 33 children study in public and public schools. Over 11,000 indirect beneficiaries who arrived in the last quarter of 2023 received food and non-food assistance. The services provided facilitated the refugees' adaptation and integration into Polish society. A total of 11,007 secondary beneficiaries assisted during Q4.


Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS) is primarily responsible for the expected results of this project, in close coordination and cooperation with the Camillian Province of Poland. In particular, CADIS regularly evaluates and monitors the project activities against the expected results and impact. It submits (narrative and financial) reports to the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation. On the other hand, the Polish Camillian Province organises and implements indicative project activities, ensures the achievement of objectives and reports regularly to CADIS.


Shelter: provide long-term temporary shelter for one year for 100 refugees (women, children or families) in Łomianki and Ursus.
As of December 2023, 82 refugees received shelter in Ursus (38: children 17 + adults 21) and in Łomianki (44: children 21 + adults 23). In Ursus, those temporarily housed in the shelter are still looking for work or in transit to other EU or non-EU countries. Ursus also offers training or supervised flats. In the eight flats rented by the Camillians, 24 Ukrainian refugees reside. When new families move in, as stipulated in the agreement, they do not have to contribute to expenses for the first three months. Fifty-five (55%) of them initially enjoy an average level of autonomy. Our goal is to make them completely autonomous and independent.

Our main beneficiaries have achieved a greater sense of security. They are able to communicate better thanks to the Polish language courses organised. They have a better chance of finding work thanks to increased self-confidence and communication skills when moving around Warsaw. The assimilation of refugees in a new country involves a complex process of adaptation to the host society and their lives undergo several changes. Poland's policy and the aid offered are gradually changing. The support received has decreased and new regulations have come into force. People with a legal job feel better because they support themselves, pay taxes and do not live on benefits alone.
The programme coordinator is responsible for the implementation of all programmes under Ursus. He organises meetings with the other project participants and tries to respond to their problems.


Łomianki offers refugees a semi-private dormitory service. The organisation of life is quite different from Ursus. Here, Ukrainian residents live together in one facility with an individual or family room. In our semi-private dormitory in Łomianki, 44 refugees reside. All 44 residents contribute 30% of the total running costs. 70% of expenses (food, non-food, utilities and staff) are subsidised by the project. The beneficiaries have somewhat adapted to the culture and life of Polish society. They are becoming familiar with Polish reality. Psychosocial and medical assistance, in particular health and legal assistance, is provided according to their needs.


The project coordinator implements the programmes and makes key decisions for the functioning of the facility and the well-being of the residents. The administrative staff deals with the day-to-day operation of the facility, such as purchasing, schedules of the kitchen staff and residents on duty, and general maintenance. They also provide psychosocial and counselling support to residents.


SHELTER: facilitate refugees' access to the labour market for part-time or full-time jobs and co-working space for qualified refugees interested in self-employment or alternative livelihood activities.
a. Skills development and job placement programme
As of Q4 2023, 17 Ursus adults have obtained employment, particularly those who have settled in private flats, while two are still looking for work. Due to a lack of language skills in Polish, some refugees found jobs that did not correspond to their professional qualifications, such as accountants and lawyers. Intensive language lessons were provided to resident refugees (children and adults) twice a week for eight (8) hours for each group of students according to their age group. Thanks to European funds obtained by the Camillian Foundation, 26 Ukrainian refugees completed the certificate of technical courses to improve their skills.


The main employment challenges for resident refugees include local language skills, unemployment, lack of legal recognition of their certificates, diplomas or professional degrees, childcare and paternal support to enable them to accept shift work, and the reluctance of employers to hire or train them for a job due to their unstable status.


We observed a transition of the traditional role and authority of women and mothers as domestic assistants to domestic leaders or heads of households. The current family situation influences the role change in the absence of the father figure. Women want to develop and strengthen their leadership in the family.


b. Co-working space
The co-working space in Ursus is called Harna. It is a programme that offers refugees opportunities for autonomy and self-determination. It harnesses their skills and professional talents to find alternative sources of income. Currently, 16 Ukrainian female refugees work at Harna in regular shifts. The space is equipped with 8 workstations for hairdressers and beauticians. All materials needed by the users are mainly chosen by them and procured by the management. The staff devote much of their time to training and coaching the women to self-sufficiency, using social media. The main challenge they faced was language.


Each user signs a contract and a memorandum of understanding. The programme manager represents the team and the users to the government. In the beginning, the use of the co-working space was free of charge. Since December, users are charged a maintenance fee to maintain and ensure cleanliness and hygiene. After gaining experience for almost a year, some users want to start their own business.

c. First assistance to newly arrived refugees at train and bus stations
As of December 2023, 956,635 refugees were registered in Poland. Almost 100 per cent had Temporary Protection (TP) status (see UNHCR, 2023). This status includes the right to temporary residence and access to socio-economic rights (see European Commission, 2023). However, they will enjoy this temporary protection until March 2024 (Poland Data Portal 10/10/2023a). Therefore, this condition could nullify the initial gains facilitating the integration and autonomy of refugees in Poland, if not sustained.

Currently, the Camillians run a single information point at the Warsaw West station, which offers primary assistance to arriving or departing refugees. This service has been made possible through cooperation with the Warsaw city administration. In the last quarter of 2023, we assisted over 11,000 refugees. On average 100 refugees a day go to the West Station, while 40-50 refugees come to our Ursus facility twice a month to ask for food, non-food items (hygiene kits, clothing) and work assistance.

PROTECTION: 50 refugee children received nursery (2-6 years) and primary (7 years and above) education in Łomianki and Ursus.
Access to education facilitates the Ukrainian-Polish integration of children and parents through educational activities. In Ursus and Łomianki, all students study. We have 38 students (11 kindergarten, 19 primary, 5 high school, 3 university) studying in Poland.

The implementation of the programmes envisaged by the project has been 100% achieved. It was achieved by providing stable accommodation and a job (part-time or full-time). As of the 4th quarter, 82 refugees, including children and elderly people, are regularly assisted by this project.

Thirty-three (33) refugees found employment and half (50%) are self-employed using their skills and talents. Twenty-six (26) refugees received vocational training provided by the EU-funded project. At the end of the project, the main remaining challenges were the Poles' language skills (reading and writing) and the legal recognition of their professional and educational achievements.

After 18 months in Poland, many people on the move remain precarious. Many people still rely on unsustainable housing, need humanitarian assistance to survive, struggle to find ways to improve their situation in the long term, suffer the impact of stress and trauma among children and adolescents, tensions within the Ukrainian community itself, and issues related to protection status and labour market exploitation and discrimination (see IRC, 2023). A great challenge awaits Ukrainian refugees in Poland in 2024. CADIS and the Camillians remain committed to pursuing another phase of the project, considering the results achieved in this current project.


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