Our missionSo that the children and their parents, who were forced to flee from their own, could learn and play together with their Polish peers.
So that the inhabitants of our region recognise refugees as people seeking help – not trouble.
That is why since 2009 we have been teaching Polish, organising vocational courses and compensatory classes for children, providing psychological help, cultural assistants, and showing the beauty of our region during group excursions, meeting women from local Country Women’s Organisations, running inter-cultural workshops with refugee women for children and pupils from the Lublin Region.
Meet our team
In 1995, together with a group of friends, I brought to existence “For the Earth” Association. Initially, my activities were directed to the local youth of the rural areas, focused on local development, international exchanges, living in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. I have been working “with and for refugees” for nearly 10 years. A certain part of my activities is carried out through culture and art. I function in quite an extensive range of activities: I run workshops, organise meetings with refugees in villages and small towns, as well as conferences and training sessions on e.g. education of refugee children, to name but a few. I actively engage people from the Lublin Region and other regions of Poland in helping refugees. In 2015, I was awarded the title of “The Active Woman of the Lublin Region.” I am a Tutor at the School of Leaders of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, I graduated in Political Systems from UMCS in Lublin, and I am a cultural animator who is passionate about playing percussion instruments (I was a member of the first Polish female percussion band “Mama Bum”).
In my film activities I also travel the region far and wide, and in 2000 I realized “The Core and the Apple Blossom” – a documentary about the community of former city dwellers who emigrated and settled in villages scattered around the Kozłówka Landscape Park.
My second area of interest is intercultural education. I am constantly broadening my knowledge and experience in the field and actively share them with the Association and get involved in activities supporting the education and integration of applicants for Refugee Status in Poland. I also co-create Digital Culture Institute Foundation.
I am a fan of active tourism and passive resting.
Our short storyOn 14 February 1995 we registered our organisation – “For the Earth” Association.
The date is symbolic – for the St Valentine’s Day and all the love.
We are located in Bratnik, in the warm embrace of the Kozłówka Landscape Park.
Our cosy, unassuming interiors welcome all the visitors: deer, foxes, racoons and birds, who chirp their stories.
Initially, we focused on providing the children from rural areas with equal educational opportunities to the children in cities… and we have achieved these goals by organising dozens of youth exchange programmes, and projects e.g. as part of the Youth Initiative of “The Youth in Action” programme, or establishing a partnership between our commune of Kamionka and the Breton commune of Gourin.
Through our efforts we have brought up a generation of wise, independent and creative people, who, as volunteers, developed projects that realised their dreams, the dreams of their friends and of their neighbours. Most importantly – in their adult life they have decided not to leave, but are still here – building their futures and homes. This is the source of our greatest joy.
Where are we now?Twelve years ago, looking around us we saw that our local Centres for Foreigners were not receiving any assistance from non-governmental organisations. The people staying there have had to flee from the atrocities of wars or persecution. There are women there who have experienced cruelty and children who have seen their nearest and dearest die.
Regardless of the current situation in Poland, or of the accessibility of EU funding, we strive to bring help. Thanks to the support of individual sponsors and other organisations we can still be present in their lives. Excursions, games for children, education and art workshops, Polish lessons, psychological assistance for women, culture workshops for men, is a mere glimpse of what we are currently involved in. Our Association is not a business activity, and the help we provide is absolutely free of any charge for anyone seeking it.
Years activity for refugees
People participated in professional courses
The number of hours of workshops for children from Refugee Centers
Completed music video with refugees
Areas of activityFor 10 years, the “For the Earth” Association has been working with and on behalf of the refugee men and women in the Lublin Region. One of the primary objectives of our Association is to change the negative approach of Poles to refugees.
We succeed in it by developing a close and warm cooperation with both refugee women and Polish women from small communities and villages in the region. Typically these are those who have the least contact with refugees that are lead astray by the common stereotypes and harmful media narrative. This initial attitude is dispelled once they meet each other face to face and have a chance to simply talk. We have already organised such meetings, inviting women from Belarus, Dagestan, Moldavia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine (nearly all of whom were applying for refugee status). We aim to directly involve Polish women and men in helping. And we have succeeded. In 2017, our Associate – a Kurd woman – received an honourable mention of the IX Active Women’s Forum. The story of her escape away from the persecution is marked by the repeated attempts to cross the border in Brześć, her tenacious efforts to integrate with the new Polish neighbours, the tremendous pace in which she has become fully communicative in Polish, not to mention the brilliant school performance of her children: her story makes an incredible impression on anyone who learns it, even though this is just one of the countless stories showing that refugees are simply people like us who have been suddenly found themselves in the midst of dramatic events.
When a young animal science graduate moved from Warsaw to a village near Lubartów in the middle of the 1970s, no-one suspected that it would be the beginning of one of the most colourful histories of local alternative communities. The former student from the capital wanted to live in peace and quiet. And it probably would have worked out if it had not been for the martial law. His friends, creators of the Salon Niezależnych cabaret, and students of Warsaw universities who chose freedom, musicians from Brygada Kryzys and other persons amazed by this peace and quiet came to this place. This is how an independent, non-system, musical and artistic “non-settlement” was being built.