Informational and cultural center for Ukrainians

Father Andrzej Migacz SJ, the parish priest in Jesuit parish in Nowy Sącz, and his team are now working on a new project for Ukrainian families. They are creating an informational and cultural center for Ukrainians. We present you short interview about the center conducted by Nataliia Haidysh, a coordinator for cooperation with Ukrainian children at the Jesuit Educational Centre.

– Father Andrzej, could you please tell me how things are going with the center?

– Renovation works on the building at Moniuszki St, 21 has been recently finished. We were able to find people who are helping us with these works. Now our volunteers clean and decorate the rooms.

– What is the purpose of the center?

– Our goal is to make the house at Moniuszki St, 21 an information and assistance center for Ukrainian citizens. We want it to be a venue for Ukrainians where the following assistance will be provided: information aid (so that you can obtain the necessary information related to your stay in Poland), educational support (such as learning Polish), recreational and integration aid (such as games for children), a counseling service, and medical support (so that you can consult a doctor). The center is supposed to be run mainly by Ukrainian and Polish volunteers, and if there are financial resources, we will employ and remunerate our staff members.

– What audience does it target – mothers, children, the elderly?

– We want this house to serve as many people as possible so that everyone who wants to use it – children, young people, mothers, and the elderly – can do that. In addition, there is quite a large garden there, so if there are people who like working in the garden and want to take care of it, we welcome such an initiative. Also, we will equip one of the rooms with a projector to be used either for learning or entertaining goals.

-What do you want this place to bring to Ukrainian refugees?

– We want this center to meet a wide range of needs starting from collecting information on housing to providing educational support. There is also enough room in this house to run counseling services and even provide medical help if we find people willing to do that. Apart from it, we plan it to be a place where you can always come and meet people since socializing helps to overcome difficult times and crises. … We want this place to be open and friendly. We expect not only Ukrainians but also Poles and representatives of other nationalities to meet there. We Poles can also learn a lot by communicating and cooperating with Ukrainians. So, a house like this could boost mutual integration and cultural exchange.

– Why did you decide to create the center?

– Having at our disposal a detached house, which is now empty, we decided that we could reconstruct it at a relatively small cost and allocate it to serve Ukrainian refugees. At first, we thought that two or even three Ukrainian families could live there, but we realized that the greater good would be if we allocated this house to a refugee center that more than 2 or 3 families could use. There is a saying that the more people share the good, the better it is, so it seems that using this building in this way will bring more good for both the Ukrainian and Polish sides.

– When are you going to open it (approximately)?

– The main renovation works are already finished. Still we need to clean and decorate the interior. I believe that the center will be opened soon after Easter.

Fr. Andrzej Migacz, SJ, the parish priest of the parish of Holy Spirit in Nowy Sącz. A holder of a master’s degree in Youth Apostolate from Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.

The house at the Moniuszki street, which is being turned into the center.

The house at the Moniuszki street, which is being turned into the center.