The project addresses the problem of stereotypes and prejudice against the Ukrainian minority in the Piaseczno district. Until recently, there were several thousand people of Ukrainian origin living in the district. The growing conflict in Ukraine and the outbreak of war in February 2022 have significantly changed these numbers. Up to 30,000 Ukrainians, mainly women and children, may have arrived in Piaseczno. For a long time, Polish-Ukrainian relations were limited to work contacts and were not free from prejudice. In fact, there is still a strong stereotype of a ‘cheap worker’ from Ukraine. After all, there are still many people working in services, construction, agriculture or cleaning, often below their qualifications. Meanwhile, xenophobic attitudes, stigmatising language and workplace abuses against people from Ukraine are common. . Statistics show that before the outbreak of the war more than a quarter of Ukrainians experienced prejudice and aggression from their Polish neighbours.
The project promoter prepared a series of cultural activities and conducted a social campaign for foster intercultural exchange, changing perceptions of the Ukrainian community and improving the well-being of people from Ukraine living in Piaseczno and the surrounding area. There were two film screenings, two vernissages and an outdoor exhibition of works by Ukrainian artists, a concert on Midsummer Night, cooking workshops and two literary meetings. The social campaign included a series of podcasts – interviews with Ukrainians living in Piaseczno and experts from NGOs, as well as a local public debate on the situation of migrants, especially Ukrainian refugees in Poland, with the participation of people working in local government and local media.
The project benefited primarily the Polish community and the Ukrainian community in the Piaseczno district. Familiarity with Ukrainian culture, everyday life and the difficulties faced by Ukrainian people in Poland was a step towards foster intercultural exchange, a change in the attitudes of Poles to be more open and empathetic, and an improvement in the situation of Ukrainians living in Piaseczyn district. Unfortunately, the implementation of the project coincided with the beginning of the war in Ukraine. It was a time when the local community focused on meeting basic needs and ensuring the safety of those fleeing the war.