On February 24th 2022, the lights were dimmed, the world held its breath and a country in Eastern Europe got to the center of the international stage. However, this performance was like no other. War in Ukraine had started.

People fleeing their hometown, others not willing to leave their lifelong home, troops and volunteers fighting for freedom and nightmarish news are still a very tangible reality.

Getting started as a buddy

“I started working with SPEAK in the spring when I saw information on social media about the cultural and language exchange program” said Iryna.

If she could do something to ease the situation and support her compatriots, she would.

She completed her training to become a buddy and started sharing Polish online.

“First of all, I really liked the clearly organized and step-by-step structured login and cooperation algorithm. I immediately received support from my mentor. Exactly as it should be. No one controlled or pressured me, but answered my questions and supported me. This is what we all need now.”

Iryna's picture of herself in the mountain by a lake.
Iryna enjoying the view in the mountains.

Social impact in Poland

Poland welcomed the highest number of Ukrainian refugees and Iryna decided to play a part in making their transition easier.

Joining SPEAK she actively set the first brick to build a community. She opened her linguistic cabinet, put on the table all the ingredients she had available and shared her recipe for empowering the group’s participants.

Thanks to the resources provided by SPEAK’s program, Iryna could focus on walking her peers along the magical journey a language is.

Where relevant, she added her unique perspective to the whole experience: “Didactic materials for each session were ready, it also helped a lot to get oriented. I added what my first group needed. These are small educational videos, game quizzes, and tasks to improve communication”.

Her wish now is that the effects of her effort will linger, inspire others to join the mission and support her fellow Ukrainians in their journey. “I hope that our work together at SPEAK will benefit and support everyone involved.”. And we are positive that it will.

Iryna is currently leading her 4th language group, teaching Polish to Ukrainian refugees still fleeing their home country.

Support SPEAK for Ukraine

Did Iryna’s story inspire you? Would you like to take part in this support network? Check out also Anna’s story and how she facilitated Ukrainian refugees integration through SPEAK in Lithuania.

Poland opened its doors to roughly 1.4 million individuals, the highest number among EU countries. Millions of others moved deeper in all directions and were welcomed by other European nations. 

Being involved with SPEAK means giving everyone who participates fundamental resources to best integrate in a new society. To start working towards a brighter future and finally belong to a community. Help SPEAK reach even further and join our mission!

Register as a buddy if you wish to help learning a new language.

Author: Valentina Rampazzo

Valentina is a polyglot and a culture deep diver. She has lived in 5 countries across Europe and has most recently joined SPEAK as a Copywriter Intern. Her passions are her plants, plant-based cooking and writing.

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