The club has links with the following clubs. We keep in contact via six monthly newsletters, zoom meetings and visits:
Zoom meeting – 1st Krakow Club October 2022
We met with our Friendship Link, the 1st SI Krakow Club, to hear about their support for and work with Ukrainian refugees coming to their city since the war started. We were delighted to welcome representatives from many Soroptimist clubs in the UK, Germany, Holland, and New Zealand as well as friends of the King’s Lynn club and others interested in the work of SI Krakow.
There were 3 presenters from Krakow: Katarzyna Brykowicz (former Union President), Ewa Fabisiewicz (incoming Club President) and Anna Wszelaczynska, (past President of SI Europe). They explained that when the war started and refugees arrived from across the border, the rail station was covered for support, but not the bus station. The Krakow club took food and drink to bus station (where they have now installed a chiller fridge for cool drinks and fresh food). They took hygiene items for the women and children and since have provided basic make-up to improve self-esteem. Many people come with little or nothing – exhausted, dirty, and frightened.
Over 5.5 million people have fled over the Polish border to escape the war in Ukraine, 3 million have stayed in Poland, of whom 50% are children and of the rest, 95% are women with 10% being older women. The language and skills pattern differences make it difficult for the women to integrate into the work force, so SI Krakow decided that their role was to empower these women where possible and provide care and support to the families and help with education into the language, culture, and communities in Poland. Their work has included helping find accommodation, and medical care, getting children into school and language classes for both children and women, together with facilitating groups for the older women so they could meet each other and feel less isolated.
SI Krakow are running a project to help new mothers and babies on birthing and breast feeding, with up to 26 specialists participating. This is to help women feel less isolated being away from the nuclear family. This has been accomplished through the hard work of club members and the donations from other Soroptimist clubs and organisations/friends worldwide. Not all refugees are staying in the Krakow area, but the Soroptimists continue to offer support to those who continue to come over the border to escape from the ruined towns and active warfare.