A Year of War in Ukraine

19 April 2023

More than a year has passed since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. From the very beginning, the Folkowisko Foundation has been working on the Polish-Ukrainian border as well as inside Ukraine, receiving, feeding and caring for Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people.

Thanks to the generosity of Canadian donors, Myriad Canada has been working with the Folkowisko Foundation to carry out humanitarian aid projects to support those whose lives have been so tragically impacted by this war.

We are pleased to share an update on some of these projects. Although headlines are often focused elsewhere, the war rages on and the needs remain enormous. Ukrainians still need our help.

Love Thy Neighbour…
Over the course of this past year of war, the Polish Folkowisko Foundation has demonstrated just how much can be done to help one’s neighbors.  With its origins as a cultural association, once the war began, Folkowisko immediately realized how urgent the situation was and quickly pivoted to begin providing humanitarian aid to Ukrainians, eventually becoming one of the key players in providing support to its eastern neighbour.

Mastering the Early Chaos
The first activities began in the village of Gorajec at the Chutor Gorajec Guest House, belonging to Marcin Piotrowski, Foundation Council Chairman at Folkowisko. When chaos reigned at the border and the authorities had not yet prepared reception points, the Piotrowski family’s house became one of the first refuges for hundreds of people crossing the border. “During the first week, 600 people passed through our guest house,” shared Marcin. “Volunteers picked up people from nearby border crossings at all hours of the day and night. After staying overnight, warming and feeding them, we passed the refugees further into the country to organizations that were in charge of housing them and securing their basic needs.”

The small but mighty team quickly established a warehouse in the small town of Cieszanow and began setting up three humanitarian aid points at the border, providing medical care, sanitary points and hygiene products, heated tents and hot meals.  “Already on Monday, the fourth day of the war, we sent the first truck with 33 pallets to the Red Cross in Zbarazh,” said Marcin.

Rising to the Challenge of the Ongoing Crisis

Ukrainian woman receiving a ‘Life Box’.

As the reality of war began to sink in, some 1 million people eventually crossed through border points supported by the Folkowisko team and approximately 8,000 patients received medical support. And as an extended war became a reality, Folkowisko expanded its operations both in terms of geographic scope and services provided, liaising with more than a dozen Ukrainian organizations to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid in central and eastern Ukraine, such as ‘Life Boxes’ that provide food and other supplies – including letters of support – to families for one week; a summer camp for Ukrainian and Polish children in Poland; medical equipment and supplies to Ukrainian hospitals; opening a medical clinic in a smaller town where no medical services were available; providing generators to schools and hospitals; and more. In fact, Folkowisko has already provided over 3.5 thousand tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Culture Still Runs Deep
A love of culture has always been at the heart of Folkowisko, and while the war continues to rage on, the Folkowisko team made a slight detour back to their roots. When we noticed that humanitarian aid was already at a structured level, we decided to return to what we were doing before the war. In all this, however, we did not want to forget about Ukraine,” explained Daria Kuszlik, Head of Communications at Folkowisko. “That’s why we focused on organizing events in which we could involve the community from Ukraine.” Several concerts have taken place, many raising funds for humanitarian relief – including the sold-out concert at Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal in 2022 and the well-known Folkowisko Festival which this year focused on supporting Ukraine.

Marcin Piotrowski: “We are grateful to all Canadians for your support to Ukraine”.

Working Together
Marcin Piotrowski and his team at Folkowisko continue to work tirelessly to help Ukraine. Thanks to the generosity of so many Canadians like you, Myriad Canada has proudly worked with Folkowisko to carry out these life-saving humanitarian projects.  As Marcin explained: “We thought that the conflict in the Ukraine [would be] a sprint. But unfortunately, it’s a marathon. Ukraine is still fighting. The needs are huge…but we have to keep them going. And we’re going to do it! We’re going to do it together with you!…We’re grateful to all Canadians for your support to Ukraine.”

Myriad Canada thanks the Korwin-Szymanowski Family Foundation and the TD Private Giving Foundation for their extremely generous support of this project.

Click here to watch the video (in English)!

If you wish to make donation, click here.

For more information on this project, please contact us at info@kbfcanada.org