Our (short) story
Vladimir Putin launched his brutal invasion of Ukrainian on 24 February. The following day, Patrycjusz Gaweł – a local property developer in Jaroslaw, Poland – gathered a group of friends to try and offer refugees shelter. That band of volunteers quickly became a registered charity, Fundacja Unitatem – which, in English, we call Poland Welcomes. We were soon offering shelter to hundreds of Ukrainian women and children.
In our first 3 months, we started running 3 big shelter buildings – in Jarosław, Radymno and Boratyn, all close to the Ukrainian border in south-eastern Poland. Volunteers fixed bathrooms, painted walls and built bunk beds. We formed a partnership with Compass Group to provide daily hot meals to our Ukrainian guests – and a supportive partnership with International Organization for Migration, an agency of the UN. Nearly 1,000 refugees took shelter with us.
We now have more than 20 staff, a monthly turnover of over US$100,000, and supportive donors all over Europe and the US. But UNHCR estimates that up to 750,000 more refugees will flee to Poland from Ukraine in the harsh winter months. Poland Welcomes wants to scale up from 700 to 1,300 beds – but our funding is not secure. If you can, please donate so that we can continue to do our vital work.
The Poland Welcomes Team
Our board of directors
Founder and President
Patryk is the driving force behind Poland Welcomes. He is a native of Jarosław, where he runs his own business as a housing developer. Patryk is a former national Polish shooting champion, has 16 dogs, and still lives with his mum.
Kamil is Patryk's best friend from high school. He works in Warsaw for the British insurance company Aviva, where he runs a competence centre. Bilingual in Polish and English, Kamil is the lynchpin of our operations.
Director of Communications
Director of Operations