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Opening of the Centre for Education and Development for refugees

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Author: Ewelina Lach

120 computer stations for remote learning, Polish language courses, psychological support, classes for children and youth – these are only a part of the offer prepared for guests from Ukraine in the building at ul. Towarowa 25a. Thanks to the cooperation of the capital city of Warsaw with Alior Bank and UNICEF, the Centre for Education and Development starts its activity.

The Centre for Education and Development is located on the second floor of the Alior Bank office building and covers an area of 1.4 thousand m2. The facility operates from Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 17.00, and on Saturday from 9:00 to 16:00.

From the first day of the war, we help our guests from Ukraine. We know that helping refugees is a long-term, well-thought-out activity that actually supports them in finding themselves in the new reality. We have taken special care of children and young people, and thanks to the huge financial assistance from UNICEF, we can jointly take care of their future. Using also the knowledge and experience of the organization, we have prepared a wide range of support. In this process, it is extremely important to learn the Polish language, because not knowing it constitutes one of the barriers to education and finding a job – says Renata Kaznowska, Deputy Mayor of the capital city of Warsaw and she adds: " From the beginning we have been supported by thousands of residents, but also by private partners. The cooperation between the capital city of Warsaw and Alior Bank is an example of the best synergy of these activities, for which I thank you very much.

During the opening of the Center, Maksym Muzyczko, Secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine in Poland, also spoke. I would like to thank the city authorities for the help and support they provide to the citizens of Ukraine. We learn together and this team, which is formed to provide comprehensive help, makes us very happy. Thank you all – said the Ukrainian diplomat.

The Center for Education and Development is a very important and strategic place where the local government, private institution and our organization meet. Together we help children from Ukraine staying in Poland. I stand by our recent commitments – UNICEF will provide them with education, health care and safety for as long as necessary," said Dr Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, Head of Office/Refugee Response Coordinator in Poland.

With full awareness, we temporarily handed over to refugees our modern office building located in the centre of Warsaw. We want to show that using help is not something shameful. We should help those who have become victims of Russia's brutal aggression against Ukraine. This is a very specific, expected and long-term dimension of our social responsibility – says Grzegorz Olszewski, Vice-President of Alior Bank, managing the work of the Management Board.

Alior Bank carried out the renovation and modernization of the rooms in order to adapt to the educational and care functions, including erecting partition walls, separating additional rooms (e.g., for psychologist's offices), adapting one of the sanitary facilities to the needs of people with disabilities and providing furniture equipment, as well as refreshing the entire surface (painting walls, washing carpets, supplementing cavities). Thanks to the proper preparation of the space for use, a modern multifunctional space was created, where children, youth and adults from Ukraine will find a wide range of assistance.

Comfortable place to study and information point

Ultimately, the centre will include 120 computer stations for students who study remotely in the Ukrainian system. The ICT infrastructure will also be available to Ukrainian teachers staying in Warsaw to conduct remote lessons. Alior Bank provided Internet access in the centre, rebuilt the network and additional electrical sockets to connect computers.

Many students and teachers from Ukraine are accommodated in temporary places of stay, where it is difficult to find space for quiet learning. That is why it is so important to prepare a friendly place for them to learn, which also ensures adequate comfort of work – emphasizes the Deputy Mayor Kaznowska.

Students from Ukraine can also count on compensatory classes and tutoring in the Ukrainian core curriculum organized by NGOs.

During the summer holidays, an educational information point will also operate in the building in Wola, where every parent, student and teacher will be able to receive information about all educational services available in Warsaw, including the NGO offer addressed to children and youth. There are over 1,800 public and non-public schools and educational institutions operating in the capital. These are not only schools and kindergartens, but also a number of institutions developing students' interests, which operate in the afternoon.

Learning Polish for children and adults

In the facility at ul. Towarowa, it is also planned to launch Polish language courses. Thanks to this, children and young people will more easily go through the adaptation process in Polish schools, and in the centre, they can also count on support in integration during their stay in Poland.

The lack of knowledge of the Polish language is particularly significant on the labour market, including in the field of education, because there are many teachers from Ukraine, mathematicians, physicists, biologists, etc. in Warsaw. Using the potential of these people and including them in the Polish the education system requires them to acquire the Polish language at a communicative level.

Psychological and pedagogical support

In connection with the war in Ukraine, children and young people, including adults, are very often affected by the trauma of war, which is why they need professional psychological help. Since Warsaw has a network of appropriate institutions, the centre will be able to use the advice of specialists for children, parents, carers and educators from Ukraine.

Children's and youth club

Educational support is one of the elements of support for refugees from Ukraine. Social assistance is also important, including support for parents of younger and older children. In the centre there is a corner for preschool children, where they will be provided with care and activating activities.

Older children and young people will be able to develop their interests and talents in the club in the centre and take advantage of the rich offer of, among others, municipal cultural centres, school institutions and social organizations. 

Training of Polish and Ukrainian teachers

The learning of many thousands of Ukrainian students is not only a huge logistical challenge but also requires the acquisition of additional skills by teachers - working with a foreign child requires learning about his needs and expectations, as well as implementing activities conducive to integration. That is why, through the city institution (Warsaw Center of Educational and Social Innovation and Training), Warsaw is planning in the building at ul. Towarowa 25a, training for teachers who teach Ukrainian children.  

The Center for Education and Development will also create a place to support the activities of volunteers for Ukrainians – thanks to the grassroots help of thousands of Warsaw residents, refugees receive huge help from them, including in the area of education.

Details of classes and workshops at the Center for Education and Development: edukacja.um.warszawa.pl/centrum-edukacji-i-rozwoju

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