Polish Humanitarian Action
|Total donations||5 790 PLN|
|Domain of project :||Social Care|
|Region of project :||Europe|
|Country of project :||Poland|
|Languages :||English Polski|
Pajacyk - The Wooden Puppet Program
The name "Pajacyk", roughly translated from Polish, means wooden puppet in English. More precisely, the image of a wooden puppet is closely associated with the children story about Pinocchio, the creation of Geppetto, an Italian carpenter, whose dream of having a son is realised when a good-willing fairy makes Pinnocchio into a human child. The wooden puppet that serves as our program image has an empty belly, representing the hunger that we strive to eliminate from the lives of the children and give them the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.
Supplementary meals in schools and day care centers (structural poverty areas)
Polish Humanitarian Organisation began the child nutrition program in 1996 in regions where state collective farms were located during the communism period. As a result of Poland’s economic changes in the last fifteen years, collective farms were shut down, leaving many families unprepared to deal with the new socioeconomic situation. The Polish countryside has had the most difficulties in adjusting to the changes. Farms in these regions are very small and very underdeveloped, the farming culture is low and there is a huge unemployment rate (in some areas peaking at 90%).
As is often the case, children are among the most severely affected by the poverty. Many children travel over 10 km to school every day. There have been cases of children fainting during class or eating leftovers that another child left behind. Some children say that their only reason for going to school is the bowl of hot soup that they will get there. The resources of the Local Social Support Centres are too small to provide the necessary help. Children tend to stay home to help their parents earn money rather than attend school; thus, the level of education remains low. If we fail to assist the children now they might have no other option in the future but becoming a beneficiary of social welfare. The aim of Wooden Puppet Program is to break the cycle of poverty by using complex method which will be explain in this text.
Nutrition for children in schools is the best way to support a child, the family and the school. It gives a guarantee of putting the money to proper use and enables clear accounting. The nutrition support introduced by the Wooden Puppet Program provides children from the poorest families with one hot meal a day. That is often the first step to provide equal opportunities and improve the condition of children in rural areas.
We hope that by improving the nutrition of our children, more children will stay in school, gain education, which is fundamental way to live better lives in the future.
The number of children and schools covered with the Foundation’s support is increasing year by year).
In many cases the first information on the need for support comes from local authorities or Social Welfare Centers. Each time, however, the school needs to fill in PHO questionnaire stating its food requirement and provide a list with names of children who need support. During the selection procedure the grant commission checks if the school is able to provide the commission with profound knowledge about the children and their situation. The commission checks also if the school offers the children extracurricular activities (e.g. day care centers with a good program). The schools that are able to play a role of local community center get additional scores in the selection procedure, which is clearly stated in the guidelines. This motivates schools to become more active and offer more services to the community.
Awareness rising activities
The Wooden Puppet is a hero of awareness rising campaign drawing public opinion’s attention to the fact that there is a large group of hungry children in Poland who need help. In order to protect privacy and dignity of children it is our rule to use the image of wooden puppet in the campaigns and not to show children’s faces. This approach has proved to be successful - the Wooden Puppet Program is the best-recognized social initiative in Poland.
Budget and sources of financing of this project
zbiórka publiczna, strona www.pajacyk.pl, partnerzy