Anna Dereszowska: To mogłam być ja
Barbara Kurdej Szatan: To mogłam być ja
Zofia Wichłacz: To mogłam być ja
Natalia Przybysz: To mogłam być ja
Sarsa: To mogłam być ja
Joanna Jabłczyńska: To mogłam być ja
Wanda Traczyk-Stawska: To mogłam być ja
Joanna Moro: To mogłam być ja
Magdalena Boczarska: To mogłam być ja
Magdalena Schejbal: To mogłam być ja
Marta Kosakowska (Marika): To mogłam być ja
Karolina Korwin-Piotrowska: To mogłam być ja
Learn the stories of refugee women told by Polish sisters and help us support the Home for Independent Mums
The first Homes for Independent Mums are beginning to bustle with life – a whole new life for their residents. The small commune of Chynów in Grójec District and a flat on Ujazdów Avenue in Warsaw have become a safe haven for women with children who were looking for their place after fleeing Ukraine. The houses, which were rented and renovated for the arrival of refugees from Ukraine, already house 30 people, including 11 mothers, 3 grandmothers and 16 children. Help for Ukraine is still very much needed. Therefore, we kindly ask you to support our initiative – every zloty is a chance for another safe day.
The Homes accommodate women who are striving for independence in their lives in Poland. We provide them with a start into their future – a shelter, food, basic hygiene items, as well as such valuable support from therapists, a sense of togetherness and understanding of another human being. We provide education for children, including language courses, and we help mothers find permanent jobs, using their existing skills and experience, so that they feel secure, also financially.
We want to help in the long term, not just in the spur of the moment. Despite Ukraine’s heroic resistance, the war continues. If financial resources run out, we will have to worry about being able to pay the bills from month to month, or we will be forced to refuse to take someone in. For details on where we are putting the money we raise, please see the description of the zrzutka.
The House has a permanent Caretaker who checks how the families are coping in their new environment. We were able to get to know these women and their stories, which prove that all the effort and every penny put into organising the Home for Independent Mothers is worth it. These are stories that are hard to imagine – stories that until now would have seemed abstract to many of us, a story from a film or a fragment of a history book.
Our resident Valentyna have her lips tremble as she talks:
At the beginning we hid in cellars, when Lutsk was bombed twice. But the worst thing is when your own child asks you to run away. The older son didn’t mind sleeping in the basement, but the younger son, even now that we are safe in Poland, keeps asking me: “Mum, promise me we won’t go back there until it’s all over”.
Alina from Zaporizhzhia recalls:
On 2 March, the heavy bombing started. We found ourselves in a shelter. My daughter was very scared. I didn’t sleep all night because I had to think about what to do. Then I realised that we couldn’t stay here.
After deciding to go to Poland, she packed her life in one bag and set off. Before she arrived in Jakubowizna, she spent five nights with her daughter in a humanitarian centre in Nadarzyn, during which she worked as a volunteer. She slept sitting down because it was safer that way. One night a man near Alina and her daughter died in his sleep. Now she feels safe, and says that the ODF volunteers who took her to the Home for Independent Mothers are her Polish family now. Before the war, she worked in a kindergarten. Nowadays she grabs any odd job she can find. She wants to become a translator and help women who come from Ukraine and speak neither English nor Polish.
Viktoriia, also from Zaporizhzhia, arrived in Poland nine months pregnant. She went into labour practically as soon as she arrived at the Eastern Railway Station. Our volunteers took her to the Praski hospital in Warsaw, where she gave birth to Ksenia – from the Greek word for ‘hospitable’. The woman’s husband, when he found out that he had become a father, burst into tears into the phone out of joy and relief that his family was safe in the House for Independent Mothers from Ukraine. He himself is staying in Ukraine.
These are just a few stories. They could have happened to any of us – if only we had been born a few hundred kilometres away, if our home had not been Warsaw or Częstochowa but Bucza, Kyiv or Mariupol. Each story is different, each equally hard. A group of exceptional women of the Polish scene decided to tell you about the tragic experiences of refugees, heard by our volunteers at aid centres. The campaign featured Wanda Traczyk-Stawska, Anna Dereszowska, Dorota Wellman, Joanna Moro, Barbara Kurdej-Szatan, Sarsa, Anna Kalczyńska, Zofia Wichłacz, Magda Boczarska, Karolina Korwin Piotrkowska, Joanna Jabłczyńska, Marika, Natalia Przybysz, Reni Jusis, Magda Schejbal.
For all the contribution and goodness shown – we would like to thank all the participants, as well as the volunteers and our reliable film crew.