Poland’s Safe Haven for Ukrainian Refugees
Since February 24, 2022, a total of 10,117,000 people crossed into Poland from Ukraine according to the Polish Border Patrol.
Between 1.5 – 2 million Ukrainian refugees are estimated to be staying in Poland, including some 1.2 million who have registered for international protection. Around 90 percent of Ukrainian refugees are women and children. In the first days after the outbreak of the war, refugee assistance in Poland was provided mainly by Polish families, owners of guesthouses and hotels and religious communities who provided shelter.
“The US ambassador in Warsaw has described Poland as “a humanitarian superpower” for the way the nation has welcomed refugees from war-torn Ukraine.”
The US ambassador added that the welcome extended to Ukrainian refugees by the Polish people was a real expression of solidarity, cooperation, partnership and compassion in times of crisis, according to PAP.
Project HOPE in Poland
In the first week following the full-scale invasion, Project HOPE deployed an emergency response team to Poland to provide for the immediate health and protection needs of this population. With refugee arrivals in the tens of thousands, Project HOPE recognized that the most organized and effective actors in the reception and support for these arrivals were local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The host governments, United Nations and international organizations were largely missing during the most acute phase of this crisis. As such, HOPE adopted an approach by which it provided financial, technical and operational support to local NGOs with similar mandates and missions to Project HOPE, after thorough vetting of internal procedures and controls.
Throughout 2022, Project HOPE has partnered with three local nonprofit organizations and the University Children Hospital in Poland, to prioritize a locally led humanitarian response and to strengthen their respond in scale to this refugee crisis. Project HOPE’s partners provide medical services, mental health and psychosocial support, referral pathways, help with navigating the health and immigration services (offered by the government), training of psychologists and social workers and training on gender-based violence, as well as rehabilitation and physical therapy services to Ukrainian refugees with disabilities in Poland.
To respond to the urgent health needs of Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Project HOPE’s emergency response team visited the University Children Hospital (UCH), in Krakow, Poland and re-activated its long-standing relationship with the UCH by providing a grant worth $300,000 to University Children’s Hospital-Krakow (UCH) to support their Ukrainian children’s ward and explore mental health programming. To date, the UCH has seen and treated 5,660 children from Ukrainian refugee families through oncology and hematology; general surgery and emergencies; treatment in physiotherapy; and outpatient/consultation visits. In addition to the grant, Project HOPE purchased medical equipment for UCH at a cost of $98,000 and 5,000 COVID antigen rapid tests to the Polish Humanitarian Action.
Project HOPE recognized that the most organized and effective actors in the reception and support for these arrivals were the Polish local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The host governments, United Nations and international organizations were largely missing during the most acute phase of this crisis. As such, HOPE adopted an approach by which it provided financial, technical, and operational support to local NGOs with similar mandates and missions to Project HOPE, after thorough vetting of internal procedures and controls.
Project HOPE provided a $735,000 grant to local NGO Podkarpackie Stowarzyszenie dla Aktywnych Rodzin (PSAR) for the provision of mental health support to Ukrainian refugees, specifically women and children in Rzeszow. The Center for Psychophysical Development TUTU has been providing mental health assistance to 4,636 Ukrainian refugees and residents.
Project HOPE has provided a $343,823 grant to the all-Ukrainian women local organization “Zustricz Foundation” to open a psychological support center for refugees and migrants from Ukraine in Krakow and surrounding areas. The center opened in October 2022 and has provided mental health assistance to 4,452 Ukrainian refugees.
Project HOPE provided financial support ($272,433) to Accessible World Foundation, a local organization based in Krakow that provides physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and psychological support to Ukrainian refugees with disabilities reaching total of 117 Ukrainian refugees with disability (80 F, 37M).
Project HOPE’s History in Poland
In 1974 Project HOPE was invited to assist the Polish-American Children’s Hospital (PACH)—now University Children’s Hospital of Krakow—to create education programs for health professionals serving the hospital. By 1975, HOPE had completed a medical research facility adjacent to the hospital and in 1988 a 240-bed rehabilitation center had been completed.
HOPE continued its support of the hospital in 1990 by establishing a 16-bed center for newborns including a 4-bed intensive care unit for premature infants. In 1996, HOPE and PACH celebrated the completion of the Clement J. Zablocki Ambulatory Care Center and began the Managers for Reform of Polish Healthcare Program. The program encompassed strategic planning, human resources, financial management. operations management. health policy and other related topics. In 1998 Project HOPE also implemented a breast cancer awareness campaign for physicians, nurses, educators, psychologists, social workers, and breast cancer survivors.
Project HOPE began a multidisciplinary care of the special child and family program in 1999, training health professionals who work with children with disabilities and their families. HOPE also assisted in the development of a Pediatric Gastroenterology Clinic through the training of gastroenterology specialists.
A decade later, in 2009, Project HOPE began a program to improve the quality of life of children suffering from cancer and improving the treatment outcomes of childhood cancer. The multidisciplinary case management training program targets pediatric cancer health care workers who will improve the quality of care and support provided to cancer patients and their families.
How you can help
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