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Salam Lab - Poland

A shelter for women and children fleeing Ukraine

The association is working with other NGOS specialized in the relations with Ukraine (Fundacja Zustricz, and the tourist office (JCC Krakow) in the Reception Center in Cracow. They are helping the refugees to get some rest, a warm meal, medical assistance and administrative information. There is also a space in which people in need can stay for a few days.

An association to support refugees

Salam Lab is an association that operates in three lines of work: media, aid and education. They want to raise awareness on human rights and migration, respond to humanitarian crises and organize educational workshops on multiculturalism, peace and migrations. This association was established in november 2021 but has been operating as an informal group since 2020. It was created during the migration crisis at the Polish-Biolorussian border.   

Since the beginning of March, their project is directly serving the refugees from Ukraine - people who had to unexpectedly leave their homes and were unable to prepare for the journey. They enter Poland without speaking the local language, sometimes without knowing the latin alphabet. Thus, they require all kinds of support and assistance. The Center is conveniently located next to the main train station. It is an emergency response point, and as such it provides shelter and non-food items.

A shelter for refugees

The project is meant for refugees to receive information, shelter, food and non-food items and medical help if it’s needed. They also receive a space in which they can rest. All that adds up to significant improvement in the beneficiaries’ situation.

70 to 80 Persons receiving immediate shelter every day

43 Persons per day find a temporary home

Organizing a very solicited center

The association has organized the center into different teams of volunteers:

  • A hot line where people speak in Ukrainian or Russian to support refugees and answer questions addressed by Polish citizens concerning Ukrainian topics.
  • A team to search for places to live for refugees. They are collecting and verifying offers from individuals as well as matching refugees with available housing.
  • A team is organizing the volunteers’ work
  • A team is working in a storehouse, dispensing food and basic sanitary items to refugees
  • A reception desk is the first point of contact for visitors to get oriented
  • A transportation team is organizing transport for refugees within Poland or in other countries
  • A medical point

On the first floor, they have a shelter where they welcome 60 to 70 women and children every night. They have access to materaces, kitchen facilities, toilets and showers.

The Air Liquide Foundation’s contribution 

The Foundation is financing one month's salary for 15 coordinators (half of them with a refugee background) to overlook specific areas and ensure professional and well-adjusted humanitarian aid. They make sure that the aid provided is responding to the needs of affected people and they supervise teams of volunteers who deliver help. 

Indeed, the number of volunteers is decreasing and Ukrainian refugees are looking for regular jobs. By hiring people from the affected group, the association supports integration between the hosting community and people with a refugee experience.



“The project serves those who were forcibly displaced from Ukraine in two ways. It helps them to find a place to live, helps in moving on to another country (if such a need or request), providing food and non-food essentials. It also serves them more directly because refugee people can be hired, receive a salary which may give a sense of financial independence and have an impact on their own life. ”

Katarzyna Jankowska, HR Business Partner, AL Polska