On Sunday, 27 September, Krakowskie Przedmiescie street in Warsaw changed into the Global Education Town, where its visitors had a chance to discover how Poland helps other countries. “We help not only our direct neighbours but also countries on the other side of the world,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Katarzyna Kacperczyk during the event.
Burmese, Georgian and Ukrainian languages workshops, film screenings, competitions and games for children were just some of the attractions offered to Varsovians in the Global Education Town, organised by the Polish MFA on Krakowskie Przedmiescie street. Town’s sections presented different kinds of help provided by Poland to people in need. Visitors had a chance to see a local newspaper office, a sports centre, an orchard, a women’s club, a banana plantation and a hospital, and also discover how rescue teams act in the face of natural disasters.
“Polish development aid has been operating since we joined the EU. Each year we grant about PLN 1.5 billion for different development aid projects, including support for Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova, which are our close neighbours, and for East African and South American countries, which are far away from us. We have more and more partners,” declared Deputy Minister Katarzyna Kacperczyk. “Helping refugees has been a priority of Polish development aid for years. We also support refugees from the Syrian conflict, now staying in camps in Jordan and Lebanon,” she added.
Currently, Polish Aid logo can be seen in Eastern Partnership countries, in the Middle East, in East Africa, in Central Asia and in Caucasus countries. “For 10 years we have been helping countries who either undergo a political transformation or simply need more help than we do,” said in turn MFA Press Spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski. “Some time ago it was us who received help from others at the beginning of our path towards European integration and reforms. Today we want Poles to discover how much we do for the world.”
Poland offers help mainly in cooperation with NGOs, and, consequently, their employees and volunteers provided many attractions for guests. In the Town, visitors had a chance to talk to guests from Africa, Georgia and Ukraine, and also meet HUSAR (Heavy Urban Search and Rescue) Poland team, which helped the Nepali after the earthquake. Participants of the Polish Aid Volunteering Programme also shared their experience of working in Africa, Asia and South America. The event ended with a concert of the Sound’n’Grace choir.
The Sunday event was organised by the MFA as part of the European Year for Development. For the whole year of 2015, EU countries have presented their development aid projects. As recently as in the 90s, Poland benefited much from support given by other countries, international institutions and aid organisations. Thanks to successful transformation and the EU accession in 2004, it is us who help other countries today.