The latest data (from May 29) show that over 3.6 million refugees have found refuge in Poland since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Local communities are currently facing an influx of refugee children who, without adequate care, will prevent their guardians from getting back on their feet and gaining independence. The first challenge facing refugee communities in Ukraine today is creating the ability of childcare and educational establishments, kindergartens, day-care centers, schools, and other facilities to ensure accessibility to host and refugee populations. While schools are more flexible in terms of space and service opportunities, caring for young children requires considerable effort in terms of space, materials, and human and financial resources. Along with this, there are further challenges related to the language barrier and psychological trauma.
As a response to this issue, Polish Medical Mission has decided to create a network of Child Friendly Spaces in Poland, which will help cover the needs of integration and psychosocial support of children and adults. The program will support children, adolescents, and families from refugee and host communities by providing respite care, caregiver support, creative expression, recreational activities, and non-formal education.
The project will provide daytime, psychological and educational, and integration support for at least 400 children from the refugee and host communities and at least 100 adults seeking shelter.
The project will also train 20 employees and volunteers responsible for carrying out activities for the benefit of the refugee and host communities. The aim of the training is to educate trainers in the field of child protection in crisis situations, psychosocial support activities, and emergency interventions.
As part of the project, Child Friendly Spaces will be created in cities such as, Warsaw, Lublin, Poznań, Sieradz, Rybnik or Bielsko-Biała. Children and adults, in addition to psychological care, will be able to participate in language, cultural, and sports activities.
The initiative is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA and Norway Grants.