20 participants of the project “Ukrainian refugees with HIV living in Poland engaged in HIV policy and practice”, supported by VIIV Healthcare (GIPA Accelerator Fund) have started the most interesting stage – development of initiatives, aimed at supporting HIV-positive Ukrainians and representatives of vulnerable groups under temporary protection in Poland.
This is a unique experience of co-operation that unites Polish and Ukrainian activists in achieving common goals. Together Ukrainian activists and Polish mentors have prepared mini-projects and are conducting organisational activities to implement these initiatives. In the process of implementing these projects, we will share with you news and insights from our activists. And now – some feedback from the participants after the Training Programme.
Lyubov Ten, a project participant
“AFEW trainings in Warsaw were very fruitful. Live communication with the trainers and other participants helped to understand the complex issues that arose at every step. How to help those in need, how to protect their rights, how to get medical assistance, how to set up a charity organisation…. It is very important that it was not only theory. Thanks to practical lessons, I very quickly understood how to realise ideas. And, of course, the support of the trainers was invaluable”
Evgeny Viskov, a project participant
“The trainers are at the same moment local activists and they are very much informed about the work of the public sector in Poland. Thanks to their international experience, they have a great insight into the problems of foreigners who need help and are not well acquainted with the Polish reality. They saw our needs and they were also very inspiring people. It is great when a specialist is a lawyer and a psychologist, or a medic and an economist at the same time. Looking at them I realise that anything is possible!”
Anna Aryabinska, a project participant
“Summer trainings in Warsaw for the Ukrainian HIV+ community were an unforgettable psychological support, saturation with necessary relevant information for Ukrainian migrants and personal contact with the trainers.
For me personally, it is also an example of gender-sensitive, inclusive events. The training was so effective due to the well-chosen topics, excellent trainers, logistics, food! For me as a mum, it was very important that I could attend the events together with my children. The supervision of them during my employment was fully organized!
To fully immerse myself in the topics of counselling and the structure of the medical system, an effective environment was created. I am glad that we had a harmonious balance between theoretical online training and face-to-face meetings, which brought psychological support, stabilised the group and helped to generate ideas for mini-projects and community mobilisation. The project brought us together and made us more conscious in implementing our initiatives in our cities and voivodships, gave us the opportunity of direct cooperation with Polish organisations, their mentoring and support in implementing our own and joint initiatives”.
Natalia Tyunyagina, a project participant
“Participation in the project was very useful for me and even exceeded my expectations. First of all, I would like to mention the high professionalism of the trainers. They not only have deep knowledge in their field, but also have a unique approach to each of the participants. Thanks to their expertise and empathy, I learnt a lot of new things and discovered ways to develop myself towards counselling and social activism in Poland in general.
I would also like to mention the very effective training methodology. At each stage we were provided with practical tools that can be used in real-life situations. This helped me to feel confident in my actions and to see real results. The most valuable thing for me was the communication with other participants. We shared experiences, learnt from each other and supported each other. This helped to increase my motivation and broaden my horizons.
Thanks to the project I felt that I became more competent and confident in my abilities and I am infinitely grateful to the organisers for this wonderful experience”.
One of the AFEW International’s strategic directions is Improving resilience of communities and addressing the negative consequences of the crisis in Ukraine and the implications for the entire region. Following this, at the end of March 2023 we launched the Programme of training and mentorship for the Ukrainian refugees living with HIV in Poland. The project’s goal is the expansion of equal and full participation of the Ukrainian refugees with HIV in Polish HIV programmes. It is expected that it will lead to the strengthening of effective, inclusive and responsive programmes and policies, developed with the full participation of all Ukrainian refugees with HIV living in Poland. Under the framework of this project, 6 training sessions were organised for the Ukrainian participants (3 online and 3 offline) involving local organisations operating in the field of HIV services, supporting communities like LGBTQ and women living with HIV.