First of all, we would like to thank you for responding to our message that we sent when the war in Ukraine broke out and refugees started coming to Poland. We are deeply grateful for your contributions and the kind words you sent us while making the transfers. Your generosity and solidarity gave us strength, especially in those first weeks of extraordinary chaos when we witnessed enormous suffering of the refugees in Warsaw and did not know what to expect.
Initially, as described in our website (https://www.friendsforrefugees.pl/), we focused on our personal involvement. We were cooking food and bringing them to Warsaw train stations, which overnight turned into huge shelters for thousands of people. Some of us were also accommodating refugees in our homes. However, soon enough, we realized that the scale of the needs required a more organized action. Thanks to your generosity and those of other friends from all over the world, we were able to support organizations and collectives that had a better know-how than we did and could respond to the humanitarian crisis in a more effective way.
In total, we received 47 donations and gathered PLN 35.431 (approx. EUR 7.538 EUR / USD 7.702). This was much more than we hoped to raise. We are enormously grateful. You are amazing!
Thanks to your support, we had a sum of USD 500 that was required to obtain a USD 10.000 grant from Americare Foundation. In this way, we doubled the funds that we had at our disposal. We used this money to buy medicines for more than 100 Ukrainian refugees in Poland and to send additional medicines to Kharkiv, which at that time was under siege. We also co-financed the purchase of medicines for approx. 500 non-Ukrainian refugees who were detained in very poor conditions in closed centers.
We decided to spend the remaining funds in as effective way as possible by supporting two local projects:
- First, we donated PLN 4.000 (EUR 850 EUR / USD 869) to the Wandering Women Collective (Kolektyw Kobiety Wędrowne), which is run by refugee women from different parts of the world. The money we gave was spent on meals cooked by the Collective for a total of 800 people in reception centers in Warsaw. We provided our support twice. The second time was all the more significant, as it took place during Pascha, which is the most important Ukrainian holiday.
- Second, we donated PLN 24.000 (EUR 5.106 EUR / USD 5.217) to the Humanos Foundation, organized by our friends, which runs an accommodation center and provides comprehensive care for refugees under the “Mirny Dom” project (https://mirnyjdom.pl/en/about-us/ ). The foundation used our money to accommodate and assist dozens of people fleeing Ukraine for about two months.
Last but not least, we used a small part of your donations to directly buy products and medicines for non-Ukrainian refugees, who have been one of the most vulnerable groups with little chance of receiving state support.
The war in Ukraine is far from over… The state support system has reached the limits of its capacity, while the ordinary people, after almost a year of extraordinary effort, are often exhausted. We too feel the toll of this year and have decided to suspend our fundraising for the time being. We believe that at the moment professional organizations and NGOs are best equipped to provide aid and support to refugees. If you may and want to support refugees in Poland, we recommend you to make a donation to finance the Mirnyj Dom project: https://mirnyjdom.pl/en/support-us/
A new year is about to start. We don’t know what it will bring for the refugees. What we do know, however, is that collective initiatives like ours make the life of those in need a little less horrible and a little more bearable. And this makes a real difference.
Sending you lots of love, gratefulness and hope for Peace for all,
Piotr, Mateusz & Marta from Friends for Refugees initiative