The long-term project “Żyj w Krakowie” (eng. Live in Krakow) is a program financed by Salam Lab, Jewish Community Center Krakow (JCC) and Fons Catalá, during which 15 families with refugee experience receive systemic support for 12 months.

A dedicated team finds a flat for the family, helps in initiating professional life, placing children in schools and supporting their continuation of education. In addition, volunteers help in navigating areas such as health care, psychological care, Polish language learning and recreational activities.

This project is also the stories of open-minded people who rented their apartments to people with a refugee experience. We will keep telling them throughout our project. 

 Among the people who chose Krakow to flee the war, there are also those who find it particularly difficult to adapt to. They experienced war trauma, discrimination, often both, related not only to their refugee situation, but also, inter alia, ethnicity, religion or skin color. It is for such families that we have created a long-term system support project “Live in Krakow”, financed by Salam Lab, Jewish Community Center Krakow (JCC), Alight and Fons Catala.

15 families, 15 stories, dozens of exceptional people, new residents of Krakow with all their potential, skills and ideas.

Help us to help

Every donation will help us provide housing for refugee families, support them at all stages of their journey to an independent life in Poland and provide the cost of basic products when they enter the program, e.g. beds, bedding, food and cleaning products to get started.


How it’s working?

— a new home.

An own place with a contract paid for 12 months. People with a refugee experience are very often accompanied by a sense of temporariness. They change places, which makes it more difficult for them to plan and create their future. We want to change it! Provide them with good conditions so that they can focus on meeting their needs. So that, step by step, they can arrange their lives again.

— integration support.

This year is a time to adapt, but also to work together. Each of the families covered by the program will cooperate with an assistant, a person who will accompany them, support them, and, above all, make sure that their decisions can be as independent as possible.

This is the time to find a good job, learn the language, start school and, very importantly, rebuild your mental resilience. It’s a long process of growth. The people we will work with are open to it. We will create opportunities for them.

Our support will lead to full independence and full functioning in the community of residents of Krakow.


We present humble stories of families participating in the Salam Lab “Live in Krakow” program.

All personally identifiable details have been changed.

Olena i Ivan

48-year-old Olena and her 16-year-old son Ivan are a Roma family from Pokrovsk, a city in Ukraine in the Donetsk region. They escaped from home on March 6 and ended up in Kraków. “We were immediately aware of how warm the family is,” remarks one of the family assistants in the Project. The mother and son faced discrimination in Poland and Ukraine due to their Roma origin. Today, however, they feel that they are starting their lives anew, and despite the nightmare of the war, they got a second chance.

Olena and her 16-year-old son Ivan. A Romani family from Pokrovsk, a city in Ukraine in the Donetsk region. Olena and Ivan lived in a two-room apartment in the center as part of the “Live in Krakow” project

Ivan is a very nice boy. He has already found friends in Poland. He dreams of programming. Volunteers from Russia, also Putin’s victims — who want to help him very much — have already offered their support, and Ivan’s dream may come true. He is eager to learn and take advantage of all the opportunities he gets. Today he is a student of a technical school. His mother couldn’t believe it when she heard that his dream of a good school was becoming reality.

Olena also wants to be active. From the very beginning, the woman emphasized how much she wanted to work. Today Olena is an assistant in the kitchen of one of the best restaurants in Krakow. She is very satisfied, she managed to get a contract of employment and therefore enjoys it twice as much. She says that she would like to work even more and develop her skills in the kitchen.

Olena and Ivan lived in a two-room apartment in the city center. Salam Lab supports them in the long-term aid project “Live in Krakow”. They joke that it is very loud in their new house in the middle of the city. But they are very grateful for all the support they have received, for the safety and opportunities. They eagerly attend Polish classes and talk to a psychologist on regular basis.

Olena and Ivan are on the right track and we want to support them in getting back on their feet. The rest of the family from Ukraine will join them — the daughter of Olena, who is pregnant, and their two children. The young woman decided to look for a flat in Krakow to be in one place with her relatives.

Natalia, Valeriia, Bogdan, Klaudia, Rehina, Andrzej, Larysa, Dima, Igor, Nikita, Aisza, Sofia, Kristina, Dima

Here is a unique family from Ukraine who fled the war. Meet Natalia, who came with her daughters: 25-year-old Valeria, 11-year-old Klaudia and 8-year-old Rehina, and 25-year-old son Andrzej. Valeriia has a son, Bogdan. Andrzej came with his wife Larysa and sons: Dima and Igor.

A large Ukrainian family of Roma origin who lived as part of the “Live in Krakow” project

The family comes from Pokrovsk, Ukraine, a city in the Donetsk region. On March 6th, they decided that they had to flee.

They left everything behind: a home, and a thriving business. The family was engaged in trade. They traveled from Ukraine for four days by train. They reached Krakow. First, they went to the aid point in the Nowa Huta district. As Natalia recalls, it was a sports center. Everyone was met with tremendous support. This is how their story began in Krakow.

They came to Salam Lab thanks to the Polish Roma they met in our city. Our Association then ran a hostel for Roma families fleeing the war in Ukraine, who were particularly exposed to discrimination.

Recently, Natalia’s brother Nikita, along with his wife Aisha and 8-year-old daughter Sofia, as well as their mother and father, Kristina and Dima, have joined the family. Today the family is safe, they live in an apartment that we managed to rent thanks to our program.

“This is a new beginning,” says Natalia, and happily recounts the arrival of the rest of the family. Now they all start a new life together in Krakow. Natalia’s son Nikita has already found a job and is very pleased with it. Dima is over 60 and has big health problems, but he hopes to find a part-time job and support his family. The youngest family members will go to schools and kindergartens. “We are very grateful for all the support, help, peace and opportunity,” adds Natalia. Now they only dream of the war to end. Natalia’s husband and 19-year-old son stayed in Ukraine.

Baryalai, Ajmal, Laila, Fatima, Faroqh, Asila, Samad

Baryalai and Ajmal are brothers from Afghanistan. Baryalai worked as a policeman, Ajmal — as a journalist. When the Taliban took power in their country, it became dangerous for them, and they found themselves the targets of the new government that knew everything about them. The family had to go into hiding. They asked for help from the Polish government. Baryalai once cooperated with one of the ministries. The brothers decided they had to flee. Baryalai could not imagine escaping without his family: his wife Laila, his daughters, 13-year-old Fatima and 7-year-old Asila, and sons, 9-year-old Faroqh and 4-year-old Samad.

After the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, this Afghan family turned to the Polish government for help. 
After arriving in Poland, they were left to fend for themselves without jobs, accommodation, knowledge of the language and culture, and no friends.

All seven went to Poland. For 8 months, the family lived in refugee camps in various parts of the country. After this time, they received a document from which they found out that they had to leave the center. As Baryalai says, they were left to fend for themselves without jobs, accommodation, knowledge of the language and culture, and no friends in Poland. They heard to just go anywhere. “It was difficult. We knew absolutely nothing” says the former policeman.

“Many Afghani men and women leave Poland. I know people who returned to Afghanistan. They have no support here. We stayed” — he adds. Ajmal contacted people from Afghanistan living in Krakow. This is how the family found out about Salam Lab. They could start building their lives all over again.

The family is very grateful for all the support they have received: from material help, also for children, to a kind word. After several months of living in the camps, they felt they could move forward. Today, the coordinators are looking for a flat for this Afghan family as part of the “Live in Krakow” project. The brothers managed to find a job. Ajmal is applying for a scholarship. The family really wants the children to make friends with Polish kids, so that they can develop and learn Polish. They liked the school in Poland very much, the children met with great support, empathy and warmth from teachers and teachers. They are also happy to go to training in the sports team.

Baryalai says it is a very important step in their lives after they fled Afghanistan, as they face a lot of discrimination on the basis of their origin. “I would like Polish and Polish women to understand one day how damaging the stereotypes are and that we, Afghans and Afghans, are the same people as the rest. I connect with every refugee who had to flee the war, ”says Baryalai.