One of IWG goals is to participate in Warsaw life through community service and charitable efforts. Following are some of the things IWG has done, is doing and will continue to do:
Scholarship For Young Polish Women
Currently IWG provides a monthly scholarship of 300zl to each of two university students. They benefit from the Bread of Life (Chleb Zycia) Scholarship Fund, established to provide school allowances to young people (15 to 22 years of age) from poor, rural families. IWG sends stipend money to Bread of Life which deposits the money into the students’ accounts. We are sponsoring 2 young women:
The first woman is a university student in Kielce where she is majoring in education and arts. She is from a small village, Lagowie, and her family lives in very poor conditions in one room with outdoor toilet facilities. Her father is on a disability pension and her mother is a seamstress.
The second woman is a university student in Kielce where she is studying media communications. Her mother is a widow who earns a minimum wage. The family, which includes a 23 year old brother who is attending a technical school, lives in the village of Czajecice, in an unfinished house (kitchen, one room, 2 unfinished rooms).
WHY DO WE PROVIDE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR TWO YOUNG POLISH WOMEN? From a long term perspective, this will be one legacy of the International Women’s Group in Warsaw: Long after most of us leave Poland, this country will benefit from the talents of the young people we help educate today!
Please note: Many young people are waiting for a sponsor in the Bread of Life Scholarship program which provides between 50zl and 350zl monthly to these students.
Anyone can sponsor a student for one school yearFor a poor student, this money may make the difference between staying in school or dropping out! So, if you (or a group of ladies together) would like to be a sponsor, please email Elizabeth Urban at email@example.com for more information, subject ‘Scholarship info’.
Charity Project and Donation
As a club, the IWG cannot earn or collect money from public sources. However, we can collect clothes, furniture, household goods for donation to needy people. In addition, the charity committee is looking for other charity projects especially outside Warsaw where help is most needed. If you have personal knowledge of any place (women’s shelters, children’s homes, etc.) that can benefit from our help, please contact Elizabeth Urban or any board member.IWG also can help members to donate clothing, toys, furniture, appliances or small household goods to Bread of Life or to another trust-worthy charity organization that helps the poor. Items can be brought to three locations: Wilanow, Konstancin and Zoliborz (member homes). Furniture and appliances can be picked up from your home by the Bread of Life charity. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
IWG also provides an opportunity for members who volunteer to do charity volunteer work. Volunteers make regular visits to a cancer hospital to play games or make crafts with young patients. We also visit local orphanages to do activities like art projects, gardening, outings or simply for playing with the children.
Here is a story of hospital visit group told by our former vice-president Therese Asmar. The original article was published in our Newsletter - November 2010 edition.
An afternoon at a children’s cancer ward
Every Monday afternoon, two or three of us visit a cancer ward at the children’s hospital in Wola (Instytut Matki i Dziecka). The patients range from 3 month-old babies to young adults in their early twenties. This particular ward specializes in bone cancer, and the treatment often lasts several years, as the children return for chemotherapy or surgery. The patients come from all over Poland, most often accompanied by one of their parents who usually stay at accommodations offered by a charitable foundation.
During our visits we chat with the children and their parents, offering juice and sweets to the youngsters and coffee to the adults, purchased with proceeds from AFW fund-raising activities. Sometimes we play Charades or board games with the older ones or blow up balloons for the younger children. In addition, some of the youngsters like to practice their English with us, and the parents get some relief by discussing their children’s illness or a completely different topic. Sometimes they take a break for a smoke while we spend time with their children.
I have been amazed and inspired by the young people in these wards. Although sometimes you need to be strong, I love going to the hospital and meeting these wonderful youngsters. It is rare to meet a child who is sad here, although when you do, it is hard to lift the spirits of the child. While the majority of the children may be tired, they are very positive, and they support each other, and the ward atmosphere is warm. The children and parents enjoy us coming around, especially once they start recognizing us.
On Wednesday afternoons, we also visit the children’s cancer ward at the hospital in Litewska, which is in the centre of Warsaw. We are looking to recruit more volunteers for both hospitals. A basic knowledge of Polish is helpful as most of the children and parents do not speak, or are too shy to speak, in English. You do not have to go every week and it may be possible to go in the mornings instead of the afternoons.