„Start where you are,

Use what you have,

Do what you can”

(Arthur Ashe)

It all started with books, love of reading and the desire to help those who do not have an

easy access to Polish literature.

Why Kazakhstan? The life of Poles living in Kazakhstan has always been close to me and often

talked about in my family home. In 2010 I put my signature on the repatriation bill, but it was not

enough. Our compatriots in Kazakhstan want to learn their mother tongue very much, and the need

is even greater because the Polish language is almost foreign to them. Hence the idea to meet this

need, by organizing a charity collection of Polish books.

More soon followed. Poles' response exceeded all expectations. We have managed to collect

huge amounts of books and literature in Polish, in a wide variety of themes, styles and genres. This

allowed for a widening of the original scope of the “Support a Compatriot” intitiative.

In 2017, as a follow-up, the “Foundation for the Compatriot” was established. The original

collection of books was intended to be a response to the needs of Poles living in Kazakhstan. Thanks

to its success, the scope of the Foundation activities has gained much wider reach. The offer of

spreading literature in the mother tongue is addressed to Poles living both in Kazakhstan and in the

Kresy (Eastern Borderlands) as well as in Poland itself. Wherever the need arises, the Foundation

offers help and support.

The main goal of the Foundation is to organize support and prepare the conditions for the

return of Poles from Kazakhstan to their homeland. The means to this goal is spreading knowledge

of the Polish language, popularization of the native literature and the work of Poles to help

compatriots living outside the country.

I would like to invite private individuals as well as institutions interested in the fate of Poles

to cooperate with us. I encourage you to actively participate in our campaigns. We are open to new

initiatives, ideas, and any help you would like to provide.

Below we present our activities:

A book for a compatriot – a collection of Polish books for compatriots from Kazakhstan and the Borderlands and countries in the East, as well as for schools, libraries, kindergartens, nursing homes and similar institutions in Poland.

Authors for a Compatriot – polish authors passing on their books
with dedications to Poles from Kazakhstan.

Publishing for Rodaka – donating Polish books for Poles from Kazakhstan, the Borderlands and the East.

Fans for a compatriot – fans who follow our national team take Polish books for compatriots. They took almost 130 kg to Kazakhstan, 100 kg to Romania, 120 kg to Armenia, about 100 kg to Moscow, about 50 kg to Macedonia, and about 120 kg and school supplies to Serbia.

A card for a compatriot – it consists in sending Christmas postcards to compatriots living outside the country, hand-made mainly by children.

Meetings for a compatriot – organizing meetings with writers, travelers and other interesting people. There have already been 16 meetings with Adrian Grzegorzewski, Joanna Jax (in: Biskupiec, Rębów, Wyszogród, Słupno, 2x in Olsztyn, Karaganda in Kazakhstan and Vilnius in Lithuania), Anna Sakowicz, Paweł Jaszczuk, Renata Kosin, Przemysław Borkowski, Wioletta Sawicka, Helena Piotrowska and Małgorzata Manelska, and one meeting with the poetry of Fr Twardowski with a poet – a compatriot from Romania.

Lesson for a compatriot – consists in organizing lessons for children and youth devoted to the history of Poles in Kazakhstan, the Borderlands, Exiles to Siberia and similar topics.

Help for a compatriot – providing scholarships for compatriots studying in Poland and looking for a job for compatriots from Kazakhstan.

Picnic for a Compatriot and Weekends for a Compatriot – organizing in Warmia Polish students from Kazakhstan, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine as well as Repatriates rest during weekends, holidays and Christmas breaks.

Layette for a compatriot – a collection of school supplies for our youngest compatriots from Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Serbia.

Holidays for a compatriot – organizing summer holidays for the youngest compatriots from Kazakhstan.

Commune for Rodak – a project aimed at encouraging communes to accept repatriates.

Kindergarten for a countryman – opening in 2018 and maintaining the first Polish kindergarten in Kazakhstan.

Holidays for a compatriot – organizing Christmas for students and repatriates from Kazakhstan, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine.

Hunters of unusual places, memories and tastes – an educational and cultural project addressed to the inhabitants of the Dźwierzuty commune and our compatriots using the Vacation for a Countryman.

A good start for my fellow countryman – an educational and therapeutic project for children aged 2-9, from the area of the Szczycień district and their guardians.

A Garden for a Countryman – creating an educational and sensory garden, showing a different dimension of patriotism, introducing the figures of great Poles who retained the independence of minds abroad.

Charity ball for my compatriot – organization of the ball on 23/11/2019, during which funds were collected for the organization of the next edition of the Holiday for a Compatriot.

Through the activities of the Foundation, they are implemented, among others the following goals:

Support for Poles in Kazakhstan,

Maintaining Polishness by disseminating the knowledge of the Polish language, Polish culture and national traditions.

Deepening the ties between Polish communities,

Learning the mother tongue and promoting the culture of the Polish language,

Promotion of Poland among the Polish community living outside Poland,

Integration of local communities with Poles from Kazakhstan,

Development of culture, especially the Polish language.

Joanna Wilk-Yaridiz

(Founder of the “Foundation for the Compatriot”)

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