The Open Dialogue Foundation continues to develop the “DomMam” project for Ukrainian refugee women. In addition to the house near Warsaw, the organisation has created three new locations – this time apartments in the capital itself. “Seeing what is happening in Ukraine, watching further attacks on Ukrainian cities, I am once again convinced that help is still needed,” says Agata Dziopa, the initiator of the entire campaign.
We have already written about the Homes for Independent Mums on tokfm.pl. The Open Dialogue Foundation created such a Home in Jakubowizna near Warsaw. This is the first place of its kind in Poland, which provides shelter to refugee women from Ukraine. Not for some time – permanently. In case the women want to become independent – they may leave the House. These are mothers with children, all in all 20 people. They do not pay for anything. Rent, utilities and other payments are covered by the Foundation, which also develops the entire project.
Today – in addition to the house in Jakubowizna – there are three more apartments, also for Ukrainian mothers. In Warsaw, two families – Victoria and Yulia – with children settled in Łukowska street. The women immediately started working, and their children went to neighbouring schools and now integrate with Polish children. The Home at Al. Jerozolimskie, on the other hand, recently welcomed a new resident – Yana, who was born two months prematurely. She joined her two siblings.
“Our project is still under development. We have one house and three apartments, with a total of about 50 residents. Seeing what is happening in Ukraine, watching the further attacks on Ukrainian cities, I am more and more convinced that help is still needed,” says Agata Dziopa, a volunteer who came up with this initiative. She added that it is already noticeable that more and more families from Ukraine fleeing the war are arriving in Poland.
“We see a huge influx of people. These are people exhausted from the journey that takes many days. They want to find a safe haven in Poland, and it is not easy. Among these people there are people from the so-called transit, filtration camps on the territory of Russia, who managed to get out of them,” says our interlocutor. According to her, more and more people come to “DomMam”. “The girls who lived with us in May are still here, working, trying to become independent. I would like them to become fully independent next year so that I can help other Ukrainian mothers,” Agata says. For example, a mother from the town of Izyum, who spent the last six months in a basement with her newborn child, is in need of help. She was found by a volunteer Bartłomiej Wadas, who cooperates with the Open Dialogue Foundation and Agata Dziopa.
“In June, Bartek’s post about one of his trips on one of the social networks came to my attention. It was a smart, thoughtful piece that caught my attention. So I decided that I would try to support his activities, and so we started working together and supporting each other. I work in Poland and Bartek works in Ukraine. We complement each other,” Agata recalls.
According to her, no one knows what will happen next. How many people, facing daily Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities, will decide to leave for Poland before the winter. “Sometimes I talk to the residents who have already decided to leave Poland and return to Ukraine, mainly because they feel homesick. This also applies to Ms Valya, who was our resident and with whom I keep in touch. And these people say that they are considering coming to Poland again. They ask if there are places available, if they can come. And, unfortunately, the situation is difficult,” our interlocutor describes.
The activist notes that in addition to the Homes forIndependent Mums, the Foundation also takes care of temporary apartments where families can live for up to 30 days. Usually mothers get there directly from the Eastern Railway Station in Warsaw. “At the peak we had 500 people in these temporary apartments. About half of them go to Norway because there are conditions to accept them. The other half we help to become independent, to find a job in Warsaw. And some of these women, together with their children, if possible, eventually stay in our Mother’s House for a longer time,” explains Dziopa.
Life is in full swing every day at “DomMam”. Here they cook and bake together, a psychologist regularly comes to visit and works with children who have suffered from trauma. Women work, children go to school or kindergarten. Birthdays are organised and joint celebrations are held. Just like at home. All this in order to return to normal life, daily routine and a sense of security.
The project was able to develop thanks, in particular, to famous actresses who joined the fundraising for the development of “DomMam” campaign. The campaign was prepared under the slogan “It could have been me” with the participation of Anna Dereszowska, Zofia Wichłacz, Barbara Kurdej-Szatan and Joanna Moro. Because “DomMam” is a people’s initiative that everyone can support by donating even a symbolic zloty.