Unlike this year’s spring, the beginning of a new chapter doesn’t take forever in Salam Lab. We entered March with truly spring energy, educating about multiculturalism, breaking stereotypes about Islam, and supporting refugees. Find out what’s new in Salam Lab!
Debate “Border. An unspoken tragedy”
We constantly mention that people are tired of hearing: People are dying on the Polish-Belarusian border, and the Polish authorities are responsible for it. These words echoed strongly during the debate, which was organised together with the Salam Lab media department and the SPA team at Radziwiłłowska 3 Street in Krakow. We hosted various activists, experts, and reporters. The debate was accompanied by an exhibition of photos from the border taken by Agnieszka Sadowska-Mazurek, who was one of our guests. You can view photos from the debate here. If you haven’t had the chance to participate, check out Salam Lab’s Facebook page, where you can find a complete transcription of the meeting, or play it on Spotify.
Nowruz at Salam Lab
On March 26th, we were pleased to celebrate the Persian New Year – Nowruz. Our goal was to make people from Iran and Afghanistan, including refugee families, feel at home. It was vital for us to bring the essence of this day to our readers. During the celebration at Radziwiłłowska 3 Street, guests discovered Afghan New Year traditions. We tasted some unique Afghan dishes, listened to Christmas music and admired traditional costumes.
Spring cleaning in “R3”
As many of you know, so far, our “R3” Help Point and the Social Active Space (SPA) have been located at Radziwiłłowska 3 Street in Krakow. The number of integration classes within the SPA only increased, and in the end, so many of you came to our watercolour painting workshops or yoga and pilates classes that we ran out of place to fit you all. This is why you will now find SPA classes in a new location: the Community Centre at Życzkowskiego 19 Street in Krakow, which we co-create with the Multicultural Center of Krakow and the Zustricz Foundation. In addition to cyclical workshops, we invite you to therapeutic meetings for men titled “Healthy Relationships.”
The Help Point at Radziwiłłowska 3 will operate as usual, except for one change: we have now decided to work from Monday to Saturday and rest on Sunday. We’ve noticed that traffic in R3 has been down recently. We are aware that this decision does not go with the well-being of our beneficiaries, but it improves the well-being of Salam Lab employees.
The interest in classes is not declining. That’s why we are about to open another point in a new location. Try to think of the SPA not as a place but as an initiative. Stay tuned!
March was an exceptional month for the Education Department. We organised ten workshops, two training sessions, and three meetings!
We completed a series of anti-discrimination and multicultural programs in one of Krakow’s primary schools. During the six meetings with 7th-grade students, we discussed topics of multiculturalism, migration, refugees, disinformation, empathy and discrimination. During those few weeks, we integrated, exchanged each other’s opinions, and discussed. It was an extraordinary experience that created a “democratic status of class”, which allowed students to achieve better functioning at school. This cooperation has brought us loads of joy, and we hope that we will be able to conduct more meetings like this in the future!
We conducted a Peace Class at a primary school in Siercza for five groups in total. We talked with fourth and fifth-grade students about what migration is. We asked ourselves what the difference is between ethnic minorities and national minorities and what minorities reside in our country. The meeting had its special guest- Khava – a Chechen woman living in Warsaw. Khava shared with the participants her experience of being a refugee in Poland.
On March 4th, at the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów, we conducted a training for educators entitled “Empathy and Multiculturalism”, led by our educators Blanka Błaszczak-Rozenbaum and Nina Wójtowicz. On April 1st, we invite you to a training in Polish, organised by the National Museum in Gdańsk and on April 15th for a training held in Krakow.
Plans of the Edu Department for the upcoming months
Between the 18th and 19th of March, we organised an inclusive language training for graduates of the Young Editors program run by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation. A group of 20 participants from various Polish cities came especially for the training.
Apart from that last two meetings of the series “Postcolonialism. Heart of Darkness – Imperial Masks of Violence” were conducted by Marina Lobanova in SPA.
Salam Lab’s Education Department is also in dialogue with the Wawel Royal Castle Education Department. We proposed a series of family workshops entitled “Discover the multicultural Wawel” that will become a part of the events accompanying the “Image of the Golden Age” exhibition, which will open in September this year. The show will be devoted to the Jagiellonian dynasty and is a huge undertaking, as it will consist of valuable historical collections coming from all over the world. During the workshops, Salam Lab educators will discuss multiculturalism and migration in Polish history and culture using the Museum’s collections. These will be our first activities aimed at families with children. “We are extremely excited about the planned cooperation with the Wawel Castle. We see it as a huge potential for developing new forms of workshops and reaching completely new groups of recipients,” says Monika Zielińska, Education Department coordinator.
What’s new in the Media Department?
In March, the editors of Salam Lab attended Warsaw for the Amnesty International Pióro Nadziei 2022 award gala, awarded annually for media work in Poland that has contributed to a positive change in human rights. There was time for inspirational conversations and meetings.
Anna Mikulska, an Amnesty International researcher and reporter, publishing for, among others, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, “OKO.Press”, and “Onet” (known Polish media outlets), joined our editorial office. She plays a role of a mentor who ensures our media activities are of the best quality. You can meet Anna while listening to the March live stream, which took place as usual on the Salam Lab Facebook channel. Anna Mikulska’s guest was Marta Romankiv, the author of the “Euroworkshop” project. How do migrants living here perceive Europe? How do they see the future? What social changes do they propose? In a reality where the voice of people with migration experience is marginalised in the public debate, Marta Romankiv gives them a safe space to express themselves. You can listen to the conversation in Polish on our YouTube and Spotify channels.
This is not the end of the live stream series! At the beginning of March, Julia Parkot moderated the live interview with Miriam Synger, an Orthodox Jew and the author of the book in Polish “Jestem Żydówką”. Miriam rejects stereotypes about Judaism, saying she is a mother and a feminist. The conversation oscillated around the life of Jews and Jewish women, about where the idea to write “Jestem Żydówką” came from and about where to get the best massage in Krakow.
The media department announces recruitment for volunteers in the editorial office. If you have a knack for writing and are interested in Salam Lab topics: migrations, refugees, human rights, feminism, social movements or minorities, contact Ewelina Kaczmarczyk (email@example.com), who is taking care of volunteers in the editorial office.
Meetings and fruitful dialogue
Zuzanna Tamas, a member of the Board, represented Salam Lab during the discussion panel “Krakow – city – shelter” organised by the Museum of Krakow. In the future, we plan on permanently cooperating with this institution.
As you may know, we are very proud of our partnership with Mercy Corps. In March, Zuzanna Tamas and Przemek Trepka, members of the Management Board, took part in a meeting of partners of this organisation. It was a precious time. The knowledge gained from the meetings will be used in our organisation’s work. Additionally, Zuzanna and Przemek met with IOM, the International Organization for Migration, which promotes carefully planned migrations, part of the United Nations.
In the last days of March, Zuzanna gave a lecture to other NGOs on scaling the organisation and working in an international environment as part of the MapujPomoc cooperation. Besides that, she represented us during the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) meeting. UNFPA is an agency of the United Nations dealing with women’s rights issues. Zuzanna attended the discussion concerning the knowledge about women’s reproductive health and potential cooperation opportunities.
As part of the PSIK (Private Equity and Venture Capital in Central and Eastern Europe) mentoring program, we work on the fundraising and communication strategy and strategic budgeting. In short, a lot is going on.
Speaking of success, big congratulations to Zuzanna Tamas: she received the Humanitarian Crisis Leadership certificate in March. You go, girl!
News from various departments
Thanks to our coordinator Tetiana Shapka, the Re:Match relocation program is picking up steam. Between the 27th and 29th of March, the R3 hosted people from the partner organisation, Berlin Governance Platform from Germany. Tetiana also started recruitment interviews with the beneficiaries who applied for the programme. In the last week, she conducted as many as 14 interviews!
We appreciate your commitment, Tetiana!
We focus on the personal development of our employees, which is why Americares has recently conducted psychological first aid training for our team so that we can take the best care of our beneficiaries.
As part of the “Dialogue Perspectives. Discussing Religions and Worldviews”, our Help Point was visited by students (also the ones with refugee experience) from various countries to learn more about the situation of refugees in Poland and multiculturalism. A group of students from Denmark, which is conducting a research project in cooperation with the Jagiellonian University, the Equality Foundation and the One-World Foundation, has also become interested in our activities. We mention it because all the foundations mentioned above want to cooperate with Salam Lab!
Prepared by Katarzyna Makarowicz. Translated by Aleksandra Leks.