SIEW in activities for the adaptation of foreigners - summary of projects in 2023

That is, what we have achieved in the Świętokrzyskie region during the recent period.

Last year (2023), the Association Integration Europe East completed two international projects: "Świętokrzyskie - good neighbourhood for Ukraine" and "Świętokrzyskie for integration and professional activation of foreigners". Both initiatives were created with foreighners in mind and mainly focused on their support in terms of psychological and legal counselling, social integration, professional activation, legalisation of their stay in the Republic of Poland and others.

The project 'Świętokrzyskie - a good neighbourhood for Ukraine' was implemented jointly with the Świętokrzyskie Voivode, from 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023, and supported more than 1,300 citizens from Ukraine who left their country due to Russian aggression.

Thanks to funding from the Safe Haven Asylum and Integration Fund, the Association was able to provide participants with, among other things, free access to: psychological consultations, legal advice, Polish language courses, compensatory classes for students, summer integration courses for children, translations and others.

In another turn, under the project 'Świętokrzyskie for integration and professional activation of foreigners', co-financed from the reserve of the Labour Fund as part of the contest 'Together we can do more - First Edition of the Activation Programme for Foreigners for 2022-2023', and implemented jointly with the Voivodeship Labour Office in Kielce and the District Labour Office in Kielce, nearly 2,600 foreigners were supported from June 2022 to 31 December 2023. This initiative was mainly about the integration of foreigners into the Świętokrzyskie labour market, but also about general social integration. These objectives were pursued through, among others, numerous Polish language courses, integration activities - business workshops, cultural workshops, sightseeing tours, youth discussion forums, a women's club, a senior citizens' club, etc. There was also a stationary and mobile information point with a hotline in four languages. It was also a continuation of the Information Point for Foreigners in Kielce at Sienkiewicza 78A Street, which had been in operation since 2019 and is well-known to foreigners.

Thanks to the completed tasks, it has been possible to extend the Point's support, purchase modern equipment and adapt new premises for training, psychological consultations and the integration of children.

In addition, 50 Ukrainian women were placed under the care of career counsellors from the District Labour Office and the Voivodeship Labour Office in Kielce, which gave them the opportunity to benefit from counselling and job placement, including access to job offers or direct contact with employers.  

It is important to note that both projects were implemented on the basis of the Association`s Integration for Europe-East original programme entitled INTEURO.INFO Good Neighbourhood Map, which has been in operation since 2020.

Both projects showed how important and still insatiable the area of needs of foreigners is. They managed to provide support to a number of almost 4,000 people, i.e. twice as many as expected. This demonstrates the increasing and continuous demand of foreighners for services related to the legalisation of residence, education, job-seeking, obtaining information on life in Poland (navigating offices, health care units, educational institutions, etc.).

It is interesting to note that a significant number of foreigners who have decided to stay in Poland for a longer period of time continue to study Polish at higher levels.

Thanks to the above projects (in partnership with the administration), the Association was able to fulfil its mission on a large scale and thus support the multicultural environment in difficult life situations (such as those related to war refugees from Ukraine).

We would like to thank very much for the cooperation of all persons, institutions and organisations involved in the implementation of these projects, in particular the partners, i.e. the Świętokrzyskie Voivode and the Regional Labour Office in Kielce and the District Labour Office in Kielce.

A separate thank you goes to the participants in our projects who enjoyed the various activities in our initiatives in such large numbers.

Visitors to the websites www.inteuro.info and www.siew.org.pl and to our FB profiles (inteuro and siew.kielce) are welcome to find out about the new projects we are launching in January 2024!

By Sylwia Bluszcz