Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
For over a month, our neighbours, friends, colleagues and co-workers in Ukraine have been experiencing violence and terror. The war that has been unleashed by Russia is forcing citizens of a free country to leave their homes and loved ones and seek refuge in other countries. The number of victims is increasing every day, as well as the brutality and inhumanity of the aggressor's actions.
This year's Easter is a particularly difficult time. The wishes we make at home, for the first time in a long time, will speak of peace, security and the end of war. Especially on this festive occasion, while spending it with our loved ones, let us gather enough strength and hope not to give in to fear and doubt. Let us be a support to those who need us so much at this time.
We wish you a peaceful, healthy and hopeful Easter!
The number of people from Ukraine who have found shelter in Krzyżowa is still close to 100. Some of our guests have been with us from the very beginning, since we opened our centre for refugees, and others are with us for a shorter time - they rest and then continue their journey. However, they are quickly replaced by others in need.
Our guests are becoming more and more familiar with our place and have taken over some of the tasks of guiding the new refugees and presenting the opportunities they have while living in Krzyżowa.
Our team continues to provide families with the most necessary goods and organise activities for children and adults. During the day, we continue with workshops for the youngest and older children, as well as Polish language classes for adults. We have also just launched a carpentry workshop for children, which will be run by Tomasz Rosiński, a sculptor befriended with the Foundation. We also continue to help families with health care issues.
Would I believe it if someone told me six months ago that Krzyżowa would soon become a refuge for people fleeing a war? A war in a neighboring country? Probably not. We felt safe in Europe, which has coexisted peacefully for over 70 years. We believed that the bloody conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s were an isolated incident. Suddenly, on 24th of February 2022, we woke up in a different reality. And we had to find ourselves in it very quickly.
When the war in Ukraine began, like most of us, I followed reports of military operations beyond the eastern border with anxiety and disbelief. It has been a long time for all of us to believe that the war is a fact and that it affects the citizens of an independent and sovereign country in such a brutal and inhumane way. We were shocked because it directly threatened the people we saw in Krzyżowa not so long ago. The last Polish-German-Ukrainian project took place at the International Youth Meeting Center at the end of January this year. It was attended by young people from Krzepice, Marl and Dnipro. We started to think about all the people with whom we have cooperated in recent months and years: children, youth, teachers, activists. We asked ourselves about their safety. We tried to contact them and make sure what help they needed.
It has been less than a week since the first families from Ukraine arrived to Krzyżowa. We have spent the past days adapting the centre to the needs of mothers and children and organizing the most necessary things. Thanks to our team's commitment and the support of individuals and organisations, we have equipped two playrooms for children as well as a kitchen and a dining room for our guests to use.
Our goal in the last days was also to prepare an offer for our youngest guests, who constitute half of the nearly 100-person group of refugees in Krzyżowa. The Foundation's team organizes recreational and educational activities for different age groups (from 6 months to 16 years) until they can start their education in nearby schools or kindergartens.