Poland

Ukraine response

"The meeting at the centre in Jadwisin was quite emotionally charged. We didn't know what we would find on the spot, in what condition, especially mental, were the children and their mothers, who just a few days earlier had fled from war-stricken Ukraine.

Our fears were quickly dismissed by the children themselves, who immediately became involved in our activities, first by participating in a joint parade, and then by taking part in the games and workshops we had prepared for them.

Without knowing the context, without knowing the reason why these people have to be in such a place, it might seem that they are a group of ordinary children who are just happy to meet clowns.

But this context accompanied us and reminded itself from time to time. For example, in the moment when one of the mothers, wanting to show how much fun her child was having, connected via messenger with her husband, who stayed in Ukraine to defend his homeland.

Or when one of the girls, to whom I was showing the basic grasp of the ukulele, said with a sad smile that for her it is not difficult, because she learned to play the violin at home. And suddenly someone decided that instead of thinking about the next instrument lesson, she would have to think about whether she would ever be able to return to her home and whether this home would still exist.

Despite this, the willingness to participate in the games, the enormous commitment of both children and their mothers or grandmothers, showed us clearly how much they miss normalcy, ordinary entertainment, spending time playing carefree. How much meeting the Red Noses gives them.

We felt that for these three hours, these children could be in a world where every child should be every day. A world where they are not threatened by danger, fear of war, the trauma of flight, or separation from their loved ones. Where through play they can discover their hidden talents. Where the mother smiles when her child starts juggling three balls or when the red nose magically disappears. In a world where it is the child can repay the time spent with a smile, the word “thank you” or even a drawing with a red nose and a red heart."  

Wojtek Kowalczyk (clown - Dr. Hilary Gips) after his visit to the Temporary Reception Centre in Serock/Jadwisin: