On Saturday, September 2nd, students and teachers involved in the ASW Refugee Club participated in the Open Doors day at Dębak Refugees Center.
The Center was opened in 1992 and is located 45 minutes from ASW by bus, in a forest close to the Podkowa Leśna town. There are some 140 people currently living at the Center.
The ASW students installed a volleyball net and ran games for over two hours. It was very popular among the refugees, who told us that there was limited sports equipment available on site.
The ASW students also brought with them face painting sets, drawing materials, and bracelet-making kits, and encouraged the refugee kids to join them in various craft activities.
The students interacted with refugees from Ukraine, Armenia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. Some of these people could speak English well.
Refugee.pl sponsored a clown performance, two bouncy castles, free cotton candy, and delicious Georgian and Chechen treats - cheese bread (chepalgash and hatsapuri), as well as eggplant rolls with walnut filling. The capaoeria collective Zimba Warszawa performed a dance and also offered basic lessons in capoeira.
Back in school the following Monday, students reported that during the trip to the Dębak Center they had experienced a sense of contrast, surprise, and also joy. They said that the trip challenged their assumptions about refugee centers, the people living there, and the complex, and sometimes difficult stories they had to tell.
Finally, the students also said that they have many ideas about how ASW could engage in helping the center in the near future.
See more of ASW's Service Learning projects