“We laugh together and cry together.” Residents of Bronowice Wielkie support refugees from Ukraine

On the initiative of the residents of Bronowice Wielkie, Majdanczyk was created – a place where people in need in Ukraine receive support. – The girls who ask us for help are not nameless to us. We already know most of them well. We talk to each other, laugh together and cry together – says Mrs. Ewelina Dziwak, one of the initiators of the aid operation in Bronowice.

Majdanczyk is a place that was only created thanks to the solidarity of its inhabitants Bronowice Wielkie. At the assistance point, refugees from Ukraine can receive free food, clothing, cosmetics, cleaning products, stationery, toys, children’s accessories and home accessories.

We tell you about how the people of Bronowice Wielkie support refugees from Ukraine Ewelina Dziwak, initiator of the Majdanczyk uprising.

The beginnings of Majdanczyk / Photo.  Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak
The beginnings of Majdanczyk / Photo. Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak

Majdanczyk is an important help point on the Krakow map. How did you come up with the idea of ​​opening a shop for refugees?

– The situation that took place on February 24 probably shook everyone. Accustomed to the peace and prosperity of Europe, we suddenly realized that our world was different in an instant. Many people have died, many have lost loved ones, many have fled, leaving behind all their possessions. How to be indifferent in the face of human evil? I can’t do that, and the people of Bronowice Wielkie in Krakow have shown they aren’t indifferent either. The first social upheaval that we had to face during the first week of the Russian aggression was the collection of gifts that went to Lviv thanks to the cooperation between our cities. Everything was completely spontaneous, and the whole fundraising event, which I organized in Plac Omłotowy, exceeded my wildest expectations. The idea for a local fundraiser was born literally the day before. I made sure that the inhabitants of our neighborhood received information about the collection. I’ve worked in our local group on a social networking site for several years, so I’ve had no problem educating residents who use social media. The others received printed leaflets in their mailboxes. Leaflets were distributed by the children of the School and Kindergarten Complex n°14. Many people came to help with the collection, and the number of donors was truly impressive. We have collected products that can fit in several vans. Soon we created a social committee operating within the Association of Bronowice Wielkie Enthusiasts and began systematic assistance. At first, we created an accommodation base for refugees, we collected the addresses of people ready to welcome people in need and we accommodated them in these places. The next step was to create a help desk that our customers could use. 14 people are involved in the permanent work at the point: me, Ewelina Szymczyk, Basia Filipowicz, Agata Kula, Agata Porzuek, Monika Wilde, Małgorzata Stachnik-Tomczyk, Agnieszka Litwin, Magdalena Bartosik, Magdalena Zięba, Joanna Bosek, Monika Chmielewska, Urszula Patena , Krystyna Nędza and Karolina Kaczor. Recently our group has grown to include girls from Ukraine who work hand in hand with us: Viktoria Shadura, Alona Halabitsky, Hanna Natsilevych. The building in which we operate was provided by the association headed by Ms. Zofia Jaworska-Kocoń and Tomasz Regulski, our district councilor. At first, we placed on the tables the products brought by the donors. The warehouse was in a terrible mess at the time. There were so many presents that it was difficult to organize them with only tables. The solidarity of the people associated with Bronowice has shown that these problems can be quickly solved. Mr. Domański, who runs a carpentry workshop, equipped us with sturdy coat hangers. The stands on wheels, which we still use today, were brought in by locals. Director of the Institute of Pharmacology Jerzy Maj, Professor Małgorzata Filip lent us shelves which allowed us to better arrange the space. Currently, the point looks like a professional store.

Where did the idea for the name come from?

– For us, the people of Bronowice, the area on which the point is located is known as Omłotowy Square. At first, we also talked about him like that. Help desk on Omłotowy Square or just a warehouse. One day, when I was returning from volunteering, I met a Ukrainian friend, Olia, one of our guests. “Where are you going Olia? ” I asked. “I’m going to Majdanczyk,” she replied. Majdanczyk is a playground in Ukrainian. Since our playground serves as a playground for children, that’s what Olia called it. It was she who, without knowing it, gave the name to our point. We took it over and the magazine became Majdanek.

What are the rules for using the point?

– As I mentioned, Majdanczyk is located on Omłotowy Square in Krakow’s Bronowice Wielkie. It is located at the intersection of Ojcowska and Stawowa streets. The point is open Monday to Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. When a person in need comes to us for the first time, please show your passport. Each subsequent visit does not require the presentation of the document.

Who supplies the store with products?

– We are mainly supplied with products by our residents. They come every day after work and ask what we need. They observe our work and learn with us how to help, so that the help is as effective as possible and that anyone in need can benefit from this help. The employees of the Institute of Pharmacology, from whom we often receive parcels, also provide great support. It also happened several times that we were noticed by someone from the outside, who also trusted our point of view and donated products to us. Recently a car with gifts came to us from Great Britain

Majdanczik / Photo.  Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak
Majdanczik / Photo. Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak

What can you find below?

– Our point is very well equipped. People in need can find food, cosmetics, cleaning products, household chemicals, clothes, shoes, toys, stationery and stationery, home accessories, small household appliances and basic medicines. Moreover, they can also receive a warm word and a smile. For many of our guests, we are not ladies from the point of view, but we are Ewelina, Gosia, Aga, Madzia, Asia, Monika, etc. The girls who ask for our help are also not anonymous. We already know most of them well. We talk to each other, laugh together and cry together.

Is there a way to support you?

– Support for our ladies is needed every day. Many of them have not yet received cash benefits, they live on part-time jobs and take care of children. Many of them have no more accommodation, it is impossible to return. Of course, the most important need is always food. Ukrainian cuisine is different from Polish cuisine. The most common product we release that (due to its popularity) ends the fastest is buckwheat. As we don’t have an organized fundraiser, we only collect products.
Very often our shelves lack milk, vegetables and fruit. These products are very rich in minerals and vitamins. We would like our guests to have daily access to it. Unfortunately, the reality is that those who come to the point first have a better chance of getting these products than those who are at the bottom of the line. Sometimes I look at these people who stand in the distance and who look with tears in their eyes at the shelves which are emptying very quickly. Needless to say how unpleasant these situations are. We try to ensure that everyone gets help, very often we split the products so that everyone has an equal chance. Sometimes, however, there are so many people in need that the products necessarily run out before we even serve the rest of the population. These situations are extremely difficult.

Can you say how many people you have helped so far?

– While keeping the statistics, we know more or less how many people in need receive our help. Statistically, it’s around 150-200 people a day.

Majdanczik / Photo.  Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak
Majdanczik / Photo. Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak

Who uses your help most often?

– Initially, only people living in our neighborhood benefited from our assistance. We are currently helping people living all over Krakow and nearby towns.

What help you get?

– I think helping got us hooked. I can no longer function without help. It’s a form of self-realization and setting a higher and higher bar for yourself. The more I succeed, the more it pushes me to go further. I think everyone who works with me has a similar feeling. We like to help and we will help.

Is the shop the only form of help organized by the inhabitants of Bronowice?

– As I mentioned, besides the point, we also looked for apartments where the refugees could be accommodated. We also help them to find a job, a doctor or a school on a daily basis. If anyone has a problem with something, they’re ready to come to us, because they know they won’t be fired with a ticket for sure. Additionally, we work with people who support other support points in Krakow or travel deep into Ukraine. If we have collected products that will be useful elsewhere than here, we pass them on. In this way, nothing is lost and our help has a greater reach.

Majdanczik / Photo.  Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak
Majdanczik / Photo. Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak

There was a very sad incident recently. Vandals destroyed the Majdanczyk building. Have you ever come across negative comments about helping Ukrainians?

– We haven’t met. On the contrary, everyone addresses what happened as we did and thanks us for our work. However, the solidarity of the inhabitants of our Bronowice never ceases to amaze. At night, the boys cleaned the panels and repainted the building.

Popisany Majdanczyk / Photo.  Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak
Popisany Majdanczyk / Photo. Private Archives of Ewelina Dziwak

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