According to the Office for Foreigners, in 2019 more than 16,000 people aged 60-79 were granted residence in Poland. Integration of senior immigrants is particularly difficult, as they are marginalized in community life due to difficulty forming relationships and lack of confidence in speaking Polish. Among Poles, it is in fact the senior citizens who are likely to be open towards immigrants much more often than the rest of society (CBOS report of 2017), and in addition they are more likely to speak Russian, which is spoken by a majority of immigrants in Poland.
The project is intended to combat social exclusion, bring about integration, and build self-advocacy within immigrants (including 60+) and senior Poles.
We will operate an intercultural initiatives incubation program devised jointly by immigrants and senior citizens (integration events, workshops on developing initiatives, implementing them in cultural institutions). At the same time, we will create a volunteer support network connecting the two groups (training to enhance volunteers’ potential, study tours to cultural institutions and organizations that are open to voluntary work by foreigners). We will encourage immigrants to become socially active and to provide support for the seniors, while encouraging the seniors to support foreigners in integration. These pilot activities will result in creation of an Senior and Immigrant Integration Model, and this will be submitted to local government and social institutions, and the public at large.
The project will help to increase social activeness, initiate self-help activities, and increase awareness of the senior citizens and immigrants of the options for becoming involved in voluntary work. The activities will encompass 100 vulnerable persons.
The partner, ‘Ę’ Artistic Initiative Association, has a long track record of working with the senior persons, an innovative approach, and a network of contacts in the senior community.