World Refugee Day 2004: Poland
A visit for journalists was organised for World Refugee Day celebrations. It included a visit to the Office for Repatriation and Aliens, the premises of the Border Guards, where asylum applications are filed, and a trip to the Refugee Reception Centre. Seven journalists participated and provided quality coverage. The event gave the media a better understanding of refugee protection in Poland. It was also an opportunity for them to meet the UNHCR Representative and lawyers from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights who assist asylum seekers and refugees in the country.
World music concerts and fairs presenting refugee and NGO activities (Warsaw, Krakow) gathered huge interest not only among Poles but also the refugee community. The events were covered by four TV stations, numerous radio and press journalists.
Two exhibitions of refugee "success stories" were on display. One, based on the "Gallery of Prominent Refugees", was in Warsaw. It showed pictures and biographies of famous refugees. The second exhibition - with short written notes about refugees and photographic stories about them - presented refugees who successfully contribute to Polish society and feel at home there. The idea was to show to refugees as well as to Poles that integration in Poland is possible. The exhibition was displayed in Krakow's main square for two weeks following World Refugee Day.
In an effort to present refugees in a positive manner to a wider audience, a fashion show took place at the WRD fair in Warsaw.
Music concerts took place in clubs (Torun and Krakow), gathering mainly young audiences. Several clubs also hosted film screenings (Torun, Bialystok and Poznan).
The "Tree of World Wisdom" - a selection of proverbs from around the world, written in the original language and in Polish translation - was hung on a big tree in the middle of the fair. There were Balkan, African, Asian, Belarusian, Armenian, Persian, Arabic and numerous other proverbs.
As part of an awareness campaign, a series of posters and stickers showed foreign words in the Polish language. Some of the words are so rooted in the Polish language that no one remembers their origin. The series was accompanied by a "summarising poster" which read, "They bring more than words", referring to refugees arriving from those countries. The campaign was present in all the cities where World Refugee Day events were taking place.
A collection of fairy tales from various countries was gathered and displayed at the World Refugee Day fair in Warsaw. Stories were also distributed to refugee and Polish children.
Two displays of refugee children's drawings were organised in Poznan and Warsaw. Both exhibitions were a result of the long-term work of NGOs with refugee children.