In the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of foreigners in Poland. At the beginning of 2020, there were approximately one million foreigners in Poland, of whom 80414 had permanent residence. At the same time, xenophobic sentiment has been on the rise in Polish society since 2015. Although foreigners may live, work, and study in Poland legally, they encounter many obstacles on the path to obtaining full citizenship. Apart from legal obstacles to obtaining citizenship, they face social barriers. Anti-refugee rhetoric has made Poles’ attitudes towards foreigners worse, especially towards refugees.
The project is intended to empower foreigners and give them the skills to support others, promote themselves, their culture, interests and opinions actively, and defend their rights. It also aims to include foreigners and Poles in the integration process, through voluntary work and cultural and awareness-raising initiatives for foreigners themselves.
For adults, under the project, the Cultural Mentor Academy will be run (eight weekend sessions) and the Cultural Educator Academy (six sessions); the Activism Academy (one week of classes) will be held for a youth advocacy group for people from immigration and refugee families. An Intercultural Voluntary Center will be run for people that wish to teach Polish to adults and children, help children with their studies at school and with their individual development, and help foreigners to integrate.
12 people who attend the Cultural Mentor Academy will learn to help and resolve conflict; 12 people who attend the Cultural Educator Academy will improve their skills in planning, organizing, and conducting group activity. Persons who attend the Activism Academy (10 people) will learn about issues relating to human rights and children’s rights, and functioning of public institutions. 44 foreigners and 70 volunteers from Poland will take part in the project.