„Library for All. Different. Equal. Important.” is an innovative socio-educational project enabling children and adolescents, both from Ukraine and Poland, to learn, play, build relationships with one another and regain a sense of security in a difficult reality. Children and their parents and guardians from both countries can participate in innovative classes and courses, learn each other’s languages and culture. The project is implemented by the Information Society Development Foundation (FRSI) in partnership with Save the Children International (SCI).
Diagnosis of the needs of children and youth fleeing the war in Ukraine
Presented publication is a summary of the report on the diagnosis of the needs of children and youth from Ukraine attending Polish schools or learning remotely in Ukrainian school online.
The diagnosis was carried out in November 2022. Its first part was devoted to how children and adolescents from Ukraine function in Polish schools. The surveys and interviews were addressed to teachers from Polish schools, and from Digital Education Centers (CCEs).
At CCEs, pupils receive support from Ukrainian-speaking teachers in several aspects of education, from doing homework assigned in a Polish school to implementing the program of Ukrainian online schools. The teachers have the opportunity to discuss with children about their challenges at school on a daily basis.
The report presented is a summary of the most important conclusions from the diagnosis. This part is available in Polish only. The more comprehensive report is forthcoming, and it will be translated.
For detailed information, please contact: Monika Schmeichel-Zarzeczna (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The conclusions presented contain:
- Problems faced by Ukrainian pupils in Polish education system
- What are the main obstacles that make it difficult for Ukrainian students to learn in Polish schools?
- What are the most urgent needs of Ukrainian students (children and adolescents), what difficulties do they experience?
Diagnosis of the needs of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Part 2. The perspective of the Ukrainian community in Poland
We present the second part of the report on diagnosis of the needs of children and youth from Ukraine conducted by the Information Society Development Foundation in 2022 and 2023 as part of the implementation of the project ‘Library for All. Diverse. Equal. Important”. The diagnosis explored the situation of Ukrainian children and young people and their caregivers in the context of the educational, social and livelihood challenges of having to free their country due to the war in Ukraine.
Above all, the diagnosis has shown how different the needs of children and young people are due to their chosen educational path. The situation of children studying simultaneously in the Polish and Ukrainian systems is particularly challenging. The choice of school is difficult: those from Ukraine hope to return to their homeland quickly, but at the same time they want stability and would like to build good relations in Poland, which has become a second home for them. In contrast, children studying only remotely at an Ukrainian school online often face loneliness, alienation and withdrawal from peer relationships. Choosing an exclusively Polish school has also disadvantages. Younger children in particular lose contact with the Ukrainian language and are unable to write and read in their native language.
The report is the result of qualitative research in the form of 80 interviews with people representing local government offices, 93 interviews with NGO staff and 142 interviews with people from Ukraine. We also used the method of collecting anonymous statements in the form of so-called ‘Talking Walls’ (in 43 localities). To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest qualitative study on the topic to date.
Key conclusions on children/teenagers
- The type of a school attended by the children/teenagers is of key importance for their situation.
- Those doing both the Polish and Ukrainian school curriculum at the same time are overworked, both physically and emotionally.
- ‘Studying in a Ukrainian online school’ has become an umbrella term covering diverse forms of learning.
- Situation of the younger children is alarming. They lose contact with their own language, they write their first letters in Polish and do not read or write in their native tongue.
- Good news is, more and more people spend their time after school with Polish peers in Polish-Ukrainian groups. Previously, children and young people found it very difficult to establish closer peer relationships.
- Unfortunately, rejection or bullying by peers from Poland is not a marginal phenomenon. Support is needed for intercultural education and building good relationships in groups. Relationship building is particularly difficult for teenagers.
- Both children and teenagers are in dire need of psychological support. They have the experience of war and emigration behind them and, of necessity, take on adult responsibilities, such as looking after younger siblings (at the expense of, for example, going to school), translating into Polish for their caregivers, etc.
- The lack of a safe place and often difficult housing conditions is also a huge problem.
- The youngest children also need specialist support. Some of them do not talk at all even though they are at an age where they should have been able to do it for a long time.
- Children regardless of their age and older ones in particular need safe space. Dou to being overworked they need also more opportunities to decide what to do in their free time.
Key conclusions on adults
- A key need is to learn the Polish language intensively. Knowledge of the language is key to self-reliance, independence and a sense of security and stability in Poland.
- There is also a need for assistance in getting to know the locality in which they are living in order to increase their sense of security and independence (e.g. topography of offices, health care facilities, etc.).
- As in Polish families, it is particularly difficult for mothers and caregivers of the youngest children to take up employment due to limited access to nurseries.
- Support in understanding the rules of the Polish labour market, as well as enabling the nostrification of diplomas certifying professional qualifications, is very important.
- Parents are willing to sacrifice their needs in order to provide their children with everything they need. However, they will not be able to do this in the long term if they do not also take care of their own well-being.
- Although we previously observed a distrust of psychological support, Ukrainian people now declare themselves in great need of it.
- In a difficult situation are the elderly, who seem to be the group least supported.