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Child Friendly Space in Kobyłka

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4 minutes

During the first five weeks of the war in Ukraine, more than 4.2 million people were forced to seek refuge abroad. Among them, 2.4 million people found themselves in Poland, of which over 600 lived in Kobyłka. This place quickly became one of the most important points on the map of activities of the Polish Medical Mission.

The first city in which we opened the Child-Friendly Space was Kobyłka, near Warsaw. This is where over 100 families from Ukraine have found their new home in recent months. Many of them lived in private homes, where they can count on better conditions than in reception centers, but with the prolonged stay, the restrictions related to the provision of institutional care, especially for the youngest children, and the consequent inability to work for their parents, become more and more severe. Another obstacle is the language barrier and the need to function in a foreign environment. That is why, together, we undertook to create a place where both refugees and residents will feel that they have a real impact on building the future of the city.

The program developed in cooperation with our partners assumes the activation of refugees by including them in the local community and providing them with the necessary help in the first year of their stay in the country. 25 additional trained employees and volunteers will work in the renovated spaces throughout the city. They will conduct Polish language lessons, as well as provide psychological and therapeutic support and legal assistance. On the other hand, the hosts can take part in the basics of the Ukrainian language. Thanks to the launch of the Children’s-Friendly Space program, the Municipal Cultural Center has provided additional places in class groups – among them there are theater and dance groups, computer graphics workshops and interactive handicraft workshops. Including children from Ukraine in joint activities with their Polish peers will be extremely important in September, when they will join classes in schools in Kobyłka after the end of distance learning in Ukrainian schools. The next few months spent with new friends will help them find their way to the new reality.

Thanks to the Child-Friendly Spaces program, in the next six months at least 400 children from the refugee and host community will benefit from psychological, educational and integration support. The joint involvement of both parties in the community-building process plays an important role in its long-term, harmonious functioning. The local leader of the project is the Association for Organizing Local Communities AB OVO, while the Terre des Hommes Italy foundation together with the Polish Medical Mission will take care of proper training of the staff and monitoring of the project.

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