There are 11 centres for asylum seekers in Poland. Most of the refugees in Poland are Chechens, Ukrainians and Georgians. Linin is a small town close to the capital of Poland, Warsaw. The refugee centre located there is the biggest refugee centre in the country. 400 asylum seekers can be accommodated there.
This year 10 volunteers coming from Ukraine, Taiwan, Switzerland, Spain, Serbia, Poland and Czech Republic joined the project in Linin. For 2 weeks they lived and worked together in the centre organizing games, art workshops, sport events and other outdoor activities for children and teenagers living there.
Most of the asylum seekers living in refugee centres in Poland are younger than 18. During the workcamp, more than 2/3 of the residents of the centre were minors. The children’s situation is particularly hard. Very often they are being kept for a long time out of the educational system, they lose the habit of going to school, learning, playing with other children. The trauma of having been forced to flee their homes is doubled by the adaptation problems in the new country. Parents are often in apathy and do not take proper care of them. As a result, they spend their time inactively and not constructively, and also exposed to violence. Polish state does not provide children with any special care, so for most of the children these 2 weeks of the workcamp is the only chance to take part in well planned, interesting activities during the summertime. Refugees who live in the centre are not given much opportunity to interact with the local community outside the centre. The centre is a detached place, located in the forest, about 2 km away from the closest bus station. Work with the children in such a place is an eye-opening experience. The stay and work in this environment poses many challenges and forces one out of his/her comfort zone. It gives a deeper insight into the situation of a refugee and in this way the phenomenon of refugeeism and migration in general, concerning their legal, social, economical, psychological, systemic and environmental dimensions and consequences.