This Pole has been waiting for two hours, and will have to wait another hour, in order to donate blood which will be sent to Ukraine, to help the soldiers.
And he’s not alone in showing up. Given the importance of the offer, a clinic employee must even warn people who are at the end of the line that they will not be able to be received today.
The initiative is not unique. A major blood donation campaign is to take place this week in a sports stadium in the Polish capital.
Since last week, citizens’ initiatives have multiplied in Poland to help refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Agata Szczebylo joined groups on social networks in order to be able to offer a roof to families freshly arrived in Poland who have nowhere to stay.
She already hosts a few people in her house on the outskirts of the capital. When we meet her, Agata is preparing a room in her mother’s apartment, in the heart of Warsaw.
We have to act. We can’t just watch what’s happening on the news. It’s so closeshe says.
” We know how dangerous Russia can be, how true that is. We remember our history. »
A few minutes after our interview, Agata informs us that she has received confirmation that Ukrainian refugees will be living in her mother’s apartment.
How long will the cohabitation last? Difficult to say, answers the Polish woman who compares the management of this crisis to a marathon.
Long term support
For the past few days, humanitarian aid has been pouring into the border areas, where food and clothing are offered in large numbers to Ukrainians who set foot on Polish soil.
Some organizations warn that this mobilization will have to be supported, because the needs will not be short-lived.
Karolina Czerwinskaof the Polish Migration Forum Foundationsaid to expect the influx of a million and a half, or even two million Ukrainians if the conflict continues.
The capital Warsaw alone could become the point of arrival for hundreds of thousands of new residents.
” This is our biggest challenge. We walked into the office today and thought nothing would be the same from now on. »
His organization is therefore working with the Polish authorities so that these newcomers can have quick and easy access to work permits, a question of being able to integrate the economy.
Karolina Czerwinska has also contacted school officials in the Warsaw region to ensure that they have the necessary resources, in particular psychologists who speak Ukrainian, so that children fleeing the war are well supported.
Among the other efforts that are being made: helping the many African nationals settled in Ukraine who are trying to find refuge on Polish soil.
The reception system is not very open to refugees who are not Ukrainiansshe laments.
In addition to the solidarity of their Polish neighbours, the refugees leaving the war can count on the support of the very large Ukrainian community in Poland. According to the European Commission, in 2021 more than 250,000 Ukrainians held Polish residence permits.
Of the number, Valaria whom we meet at a demonstration in front of the Russian embassy in Warsaw.
Fifteen minutes before our meeting, she received a message from her mother, telling her that her brother was going to take up arms to defend the Ukrainian capital.
I’m very scared for him, but I’m also proud, she says, sobs in her voice. In these difficult times, she consoles herself by evoking the solidarity expressed by the Poles since last week.
They showed they were our friendsshe says.