Multicultural Warsaw II

  • grant giving institution: Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw
  • duration: December 2012 – November 2015
  • amount of subsidy: PLN 217,970

Short description of the project:
The projects is divided into three parts. The first part involves legal counselling for foreigners, the second part – cross-cultural and integration-related counselling addressed to that group and the third part is the Volunteer Centre.

  1. The scope of legal consultancy for foreigners covers the whole range of legal problems that acknowledged refugees and persons who were granted supplementary protection or tolerated residence permit may encounter. In practice, this means that apart from issues directly related with being granted and obtaining integration-related help, counselling may cover any issues that concern every citizen, e.g.: the ways and conditions of using social aid, registering in the Employment Office, possibilities of applying for family allowance, medical insurance, personal identification number (PESEL) and tax identification number (NIP), issues related with labour law and social security, family law, in particular issues related with the conclusion and termination of marriage, parental rights and reporting birth and death in the Registry Office, civil law, in particular the possibilities of working under civil-law contracts, housing law (especially tenancy agreements), and also consumer rights protection, starting a business activity etc. If need be, the project will also cover providing help in sorting out formal issues that foreigners may have difficulties with due to e.g. language barrier or being confused about a new legal system.
  2. The scope of integration-related and cross-cultural consultancy will cover the whole range of integration-related problems which acknowledged refugees and persons with granted supplementary protection or tolerated residence permit need to face – especially in the first period of their independent functioning in a new social, legal and cultural environment – which are mainly due to language barrier and differences between non-verbal communication codes in both cultures – that of guests and of hosts. The consultancy will be mainly practical. Integration adviser will help the foreigners find their place in the¬†Polish reality, acting at the same time as a translator, cross-cultural guide and, in a way, a social worker. They will provide guidelines on how to behave in various social situations, e.g. in public offices, when talking to the flat owner, employer, child’s teacher etc. They will help in writing official letters, filling in application forms and preparing CVs in Polish. Upon the request of a foreigner who does not speak Polish well enough, they will call on their behalf about job or housing. If needed, they will also accompany a foreigner as “cross-cultural interpreters” in the above situations. Their presence will also ensure better understanding between guests and hosts, it will decrease the risk of cultural misunderstanding, thus making the process of integration faster. Integration-related and cross-cultural advice will supplement legal counselling provided for foreigners.
  3. The Volunteer Centre is a supplement to legal counselling as well as integration-related and cross-cultural counselling provided for foreigners. Its objective is to increase social awareness of cultural differences and problems related with them. For that reason a group of about 10 volunteers will be trained to work with persons originating from a different culture from ours. Their further task will be to accompany the foreigners in their first steps in our country and to help them deal with all integration-related issues: in public offices, related with health, education or other things that they could find difficult to deal with by themselves. In this way volunteers will not only help the foreigners, but they will also educate people in public offices and institution about problems of refugees, thus making the employees of such institutions more sensitive to them, so that they are more lenient in their relations with foreigners in the future. The main beneficiaries of the project will be forced migrants, i.e. people who need help the most.

coordinator: Aleksandra Chrzanowska