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78 1240 1037 1111 0000 0693 1384
4 April 2023
by Michał Karski
Diaconia Poland and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, in cooperation with Lutheran parishes and NGOs in fifteen Polish cities and towns, are running a cash assistance program for vulnerable refugees from Ukraine. The aim of this initiative is to meet the basic and urgent needs of refugees, while ensuring them full subjectivity. The program has been met with great interest.
Olena comes from Kherson. In March 2022, this city in southern Ukraine came under Russian occupation and its inhabitants in a constant threat to life. On 30 September, Russia, on the basis of an illegal referendum, announced the annexation of the Kherson region along with three other Ukrainian regions. Even then, the Ukrainian army was close to recapturing the city. A few weeks later, the Russian army and collaborationist authorities withdrew from Kherson, and on 11 November, the Ukrainian army liberated the city. However, its situation is still difficult – it is still under Russian fire, many buildings are destroyed, many areas have been mined, there are problems with access to water, electricity, internet or mobile phone coverage.
On 1 October, Olena with her seven-year-old daughter, a few-month-old son and mother came to Poland. They settled in Jawor in Lower Silesia. “My daughter goes to school, but I have to take care of my son and I can’t work professionally at the moment. When he is old enough to go to nursery, I want to go to work. I’m an accountant. I’m learning Polish,” she says. Her savings are running out. In March, she applied for her family to be included in the Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) Program run by Diaconia Poland and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe for refugees from Ukraine. “I want to use the funds from this assistance to pay for the apartment and buy clothes for the children,” explains Olena.
The MPCA Program is designed for refugees from Ukraine. “Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, we are responding to the needs of the people affected by the war and seeking refuge in Poland. One of our main interventions is the provision of multi-purpose cash assistance for meeting the immediate basic needs of vulnerable refugees,” explains Hatem Efe, who coordinates the program in Poland on behalf of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe.
The aim of the program is to support most vulnerable refugees. Individuals and families who came from Ukraine to Poland after the outbreak of a full-scale war in February last year, are registered and residing in Poland, have never received similar assistance from any organisation and are in a difficult economic situation may apply for this assistance. Approximately 2,500 most vulnerable families or households (about 6,700 people) will receive support under this MPCA Program.
In March, support points for registering for the program were launched. They operate in fifteen cities and towns: Cieszyn, Cracow (southern Poland), Jawor, Świdnica, Wałbrzych, Wrocław (south-western), Kalisz (central-western), Węgrów (central-eastern), Lublin (eastern), Koszalin (northern), Działdowo, Mrągowo, Nidzica, Pisz and Suwałki (north-eastern). They are located mostly in Lutheran parishes, in Suwałki in the seat of the local Association of Ukrainians, and in Wrocław in a point run by the Nomada Association. For the parishes, running these points is another form of involvement in helping refugees from Ukraine. They also support them by providing accommodation in their buildings, organizing integration activities, and providing material assistance. “We are very happy that we can help. We have had very good experiences with refugees. They know that when they come to us for help, they can feel safe,” says rev. Tomasz Stawiak, pastor in charge of the Lutheran Parish in Jawor.
Those who qualify for the program will receive three-month cash assistance in the form of prepaid debit cards. The amount of support depends on the size of the family (household). “Provided through debit cards that can be used in the stores for purchasing items or in the cash machines for money withdrawal, our assistance is offered in a dignified manner and with maximum flexibility for the refugees so that they can spend it according to their own needs and priorities,” says Hatem Efe.
This is the next phase of the MPCA Program for Ukrainian refugees run by the Diaconia Poland and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe. In 2022, a similar program was implemented in Kalisz (central-western Poland), Bieruń-Lędziny County and Sosnowiec (southern). In addition, both organisations cooperate by supporting integration programs for refugees from Ukraine as well as Lutheran parishes that provide or wish to provide in their buildings accommodation for refugees. “People who have fled the war in Ukraine found themselves in a very difficult situation – without a home, often without a livelihood, carrying the difficult experience of having their lives and those of their loved ones threatened. They need our solidarity and support. As Diaconia, we are trying to provide them with concrete help, which is necessary in this crisis situation so that they can meet their basic needs,” emphasises Wanda Falk, the director of Diaconia Poland.
If you face any problems, or have a complaint or feedback about our programs, you can contact our Complaint and Feedback Mechanism (in Polish and Ukrainian):