In the days immediately following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2023, Poland finds itself facing one of the largest migration phenomena in its history. Today, nearly two years since the beginning of the conflict, Poland is hosting 1.6 million Ukrainians, and people continue to arrive.
In Poland, AVSI collaborates with AVSI Polska, a Polish organization and founding partner of AVSI. After initial emergency interventions, AVSI's activities have focused on integration through collaboration with local businesses and the support of private donors.
Among the initiatives promoted is "W.A.G.E.E.S – Work and gain education & employment skills," launched in May 2023 with the aim of supporting 100 Ukrainian women and 100 children in starting a new life in Poland.
In September 2023, the Italian illustrator Elena Mistrello joined us in Poland to meet Ukrainian women who, with the support of AVSI, are painstakingly trying to rebuild their lives. Thus, "Starting from the what is left, Stories of women at war's edge" is born, a graphic novel that can be downloaded for free here:
The integration of Ukrainian women in Poland: AVSI and AVSI Polska activities
The W.A.G.E.E.S. project, as narrated in the graphic novel, is highly comprehensive. AVSI collaborates with various entities in the field of reception, offering a range of services, including summer camps, childcare spaces, language courses, vocational training, and psychological support. The project aims to empower Ukrainian women, with AVSI actively participating in job fairs and establishing partnerships with companies eager to hire them.
Many Ukrainian women, often with university degrees, face the challenge of preserving their professional qualifications. AVSI addresses this by certifying their prior work experiences to prevent dequalification.
Another crucial aspect tackled by AVSI is the integration of refugee women into the workforce while addressing childcare concerns. Enrolling children in local preschools and company nurseries, AVSI also organizes recreational and psychosocial activities.
We do not deal with the all around reception project; as there are already several organizations and associations involved. Instead, our specific contribution is to offer people the chance to build a long-term future for themselves. We strive to provide them with the tools to regain independence and self-sufficiencyJulia - W.A.G.E.E.S. project coordinator