• March 1, 2017
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Polish children in Polish schools in Lithuania

The Enea Foundation launched a campaign to help Poles living in Lithuania – Good Energy Beyond Borders. The aim of the project is to encourage parents of children and young people with Polish origin to choose Polish schools, teach Polish language, and show Polish history, culture and tradition to create a strong bond with Homeland. The main partner is the Caritas of the Archdiocese of Poznań which has successfully helped people for years – also outside of Poland.

On Monday, 27 February, I took part in a very important event – the launch of the project Good Energy Beyond Borders. The Enea Foundation, on the initiative of Andrzej Kojro, the member of the Enea Foundation Council and the president of the Enea Operator, decided to provide help to Polish schools and to us – Poles living in Lithuania.

The initiative was preceded by a visit of representatives of Enea headed by Andrzej Kojro, Sławomir Krenczyk, the president of the Enea Foundation, representatives of the Caritas of the Archdiocese of Poznań, including priest Marcin Alecki, and representatives of the Association of Vilnius and Vilnius Land Enthusiasts, the department in Poznań, headed by Krystyna Liminowicz. The visit was held on the 19th of October 2016 in Vilnius. We were represented by: Józef Kwiatkowski, Seimas member, president of the School Matrix; Wanda Krawczonok, Seimas member, vice-president of the EAPL-CFA; Maria Rekść; mayor of the Vilnius region; Renata Cytacka from the Forum of Parents of Polish Schools in Lithuania. We discussed the situation of Polish education in Lithuania as well as the needs and expectations. It is positive that representatives of Enea and the Caritas of the Archdiocese of Poznań responded so quickly. During summer holidays our youth will be offered recreational and educational trips.

When signing a motion for the project Goog Energy Beyond Borders, Andrzej Kojro, the initiator of the campaign and the president of Enea Operator, said: “I have friends in Lithuania. They are Poles and have lived there for generations. I know what problems they have to face every day to preserve their Polish identity, language, culture and tradition. And this is why I came up with the idea to launch a campaign that would support young generations and help them meet culture and history of the country of their ancestors, by visiting places where Poland was born, for example.”

The Enea Foundation and its partners aim at promoting Polish tradition, history and language in Lithuania.

“It is necessary to talk and to build strong bonds of friendship between young Poles in Lithuania and young Poles living in the country. This aim will be supported by students exchange held by the Enea Foundation along with the Caritas. The project Good Energy Beyond Borders was prepared in cooperation with the community of Poles living in Lithuania. It was created in response to their needs. Our support will be also beneficial for young people from Wielkopolska because they will meet culture and history of their peers from Lithuania” – said Sławomir Krenczyk, the president of the Enea Foundation.

“If you set boundaries in love, there is no love. This is what wise people say. Caritas means love and we find it inconceivable that boundaries will stop us from helping others and building bridges. In particular, this refers to Poles who happened to live outside our Homeland. I am delighted that Enea is very important for all of us – for foundations, institutions and companies. With joint efforts we are able to achieve a common goal. I am convinced that the project will improve the spiritual condition of those who will use it, and restore their faith in humanity” – said the priest Waldemar Hanas, director of the Caritas of Archdiocese of Poznań.

The project Good Energy Beyond Borders also supports teaching staff in Polish schools in Lithuania. Specifically for them training courses, including methodology and didactics, will be organized. In addition, educational books will be collected in companies of the Enea Group, as well as in seats of the Caritas and the Association of Vilnius and Vilnius Land Enthusiasts. Such aid may considerably increase opportunities for young people to take up higher education.

The campaign Good Energy Beyond Borders is patronized by the Senate of Poland and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The Senate of the Republic of Poland has supported Polish diaspora and Poles abroad for years. We closely cooperate with our countrymen spread around the world and we know their activities and their commitment to preservation of Polish culture. We are aware of their achievements, but also a great number of needs and problems they face. We are also aware of the fact that institutional help is far from being sufficient in that case. Social involvement and many bottom-up initiatives are needed to make Poles living abroad feel our strong support and tight bonds with Homeland. The project Good Energy Beyond Borders, originated by Mr. Andrzej Kojro, the President of the Enea Operator, is a notable example of the activity which, with the commitment of business representatives and private persons, seeks to provide particular help to places where it is really needed. In this case the aid includes Polish children in Lithuania. The project will help them develop their passions and interests, broaden knowledge about Poland and fulfil their childhood dreams. I am very grateful to all who contributed to realization of this valuable project. Thank you for your sincere hearts! Helping others brings joy. I wish there were more and more people seeking this kind of joy” – said Maria Koc, Vice Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland.

I was glad to see that the Enea Foundation and the Caritas developed a common initiative. There is no doubt that it will result in closer relations with our countrymen in Lithuania. Education of young Poles living abroad is a very important issue for the Government of Poland. It is important to ensure that young Poles in Lithuania can meet tradition, culture and history of Poland by physical presence in our Homeland. The project will help them be more aware of their Polish identity, and given that project activities are very interesting, all objectives will be fulfilled for certain” – added Jan Dziedziczak, Secretary of State in The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The first group of students from Lithuania will come to Poznań in the second half of June this year. This is very important for us because the youth will have the opportunity to improve their native language skills during leisure time. The trips will certainly help young Poles from Lithuania better understand Polish culture and history, and learn more about Polish heros. They will also find out what are current interests of young Poles living here. They will be able to define differences between the ways our history is presented in Poland and in Lithuania.

This will be an unforgettable experience for young people, and I wish there were more and more such initiatives. Thanks to organizers for a great initiative – the project Good Energy Beyond Borders, and for an invitation to take part in the inauguration of the project in Poznań.

Renata Cytacka

Translated by Grzegorz Gaura within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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