The war in Ukraine sparked the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the end of the Second World War. Almost 8 million people from Ukraine are registered as refugees in neighboring European countries, and more than 6.5 million are estimated to be displaced inside the country. (data UNHCR, Jan 2023). The majority of refugees fled to Poland. Currently, there are about 1.5 million refugees officially registered in Poland, but it is estimated that the country hosts several million, with a high number of border crossings back and forth due to the volatile security in Ukraine.
To respond to the crisis, LWF in close collaboration with its member church the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (ECACP) and its local parishes, has established a country program in Poland. The program, registered as Foundation LWF in Poland (Fundacja LWF w Polsce), has a head office in Warsaw and six community centers and field offices across the country.
What we do in Poland
The LWF Foundation in Poland offers access to psychological and psychosocial support and legal services. People coming to the centers can also participate in sport activities (yoga, bachata), creative activities (cooking classes, floral arrangement classes) and receive educational support (tutoring in math and Polish). LWF Foundation in Poland also provides medical assistance through the distribution of orthopedic shoes, rehabilitation chair and other medical equipment to children living with disabilities, as well as medical vouchers.
Refugees receive food (canned pasta, marmalade, cereals, coffee and chocolate) hygiene and baby care products (shampoo, toothpaste, diapers) female hygiene supplies, and cleaning detergent and toilet paper. The Distribution points are located in Cieszyn, Krakow, and the LWF’s community centers in Ostroda and Gdansk.
The LWF Foundation in Poland distributed cash for 70,000 people. After registration, refugees could withdraw money from Polish banks and ATMs and spend it according to their needs. Registration is currently closed.
At the beginning of the war, LWF, in collaboration with Polska Akcja Humanitarna (PAH), distributed food and relief goods to refugees crossing into Poland through the borders in Zosin and Dorohusk as well as displaced populations in Volodymir and Obukhiv. For a month, LWF worked to protect refugees at the Medkyka border crossing. In partnership with Humanosh Foundation, LWF conducted information campaigns for 3,500 refugees and transported over 1,100 refugees from the border to the closest reception center.
Partners and donors
- ACT Alliance
- All We Can
- Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS)
- Avalon Foundation
- Church World Service
- Corus International / LWR
- DAA Austria
- Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
- Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (ECACP)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria
- Evangelical Lutheran Church Wurttemberg
- Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM)
- German National Committee of the LWF
- Humanosh Foundation
- Icelandic Church Aid
- Kerk in Actie
- Municipality of Krakow
- Neighbor in Need
- Patchwork Foundation
- Polska Akcja Humanitarna (PAH)
LWF is calling for donations to support the churches and people of Ukraine, who are displaced or in need following Russia’s military invasion of the country.
Photo: LWF/ Albin Hillert