“oday we would like to present one of the programmes implemented by the Polish government, the aim of which is to support Poles abroad. In particular, we place emphasis on Poles left in the East, living both in the borderlands of the First and Second Polish Republic said Minister Michał Dworczyk.
As he emphasised: Th
is programme is an expression of our care of Poles, our fellow countrymen, regardless of where they live; the aim of the programme is to make it possible for them to maintain and cultivate Polish culture, Polish language and Polish customs.
The head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister - Michał Dworczyk, the secretary of state, the Government Plenipotentiary for the Polish Diaspora and Poles Abroad - Jan Dziedziczak, together with the president of the "Aid to Poles in the East" Foundation - Mikołaj Falkowski, presented this year's edition of the "First Former’s Voucher" project and a summary of its implementation in the previous years.
The presentation was supplemented with films from Polish schools abroad participating in the project.
We bring up students using the Polish language, arousing patriotic and Polish feelings, in an atmosphere of loyalty to the country of which a given young person is a citizen said Minister Jan Dziedziczak.
Help for Poles living abroad
The "First Former’s Voucher" project is an initiative addressed to Poles in the East (Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine) and the Czech Republic. The beneficiary of the funds and the entity implementing the project is the "Aid to Poles in the East" Foundation.
In the first two editions, in 2016 and 2017, it included first-form students living in Lithuania. Then, from 2018, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Ukraine were included, and in 2019 - Belarus.
"First Former’s Voucher," actively supports compatriots living abroad and increases the attractiveness of Polish schools in the countries included in the project. Its implementation also influences the activation of the student community and contributes to the promotion of a positive image of Poland.
The Government Plenipotentiary for the Polish Diaspora and Poles Abroad pointed out that we have Polish schools in Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. Therefore, it is extremely important to encourage as many people as possible to choose these schools and decide to study in Polish schools. As he added,
When a child begins the education cycle in a Polish school, we have a guarantee that after many years spent there, he or she will speak Polish fluently and will also have a patriotic upbringing.
In 2016-2019, 5,672 school kits (backpack with equipment) were donated as part of the project, and 5,125 students received support in the form of a one-off financial scholarship in a total amount of almost PLN 3 million.
PLN 1.5 million for the "First Former’s Voucher 2020"
In 2020, the project was financed from the Polish diaspora funds at the disposal of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. This year, the total amount of co-financing the project is nearly PLN 1.5 million.
Financial scholarships for over 2,000 students
As part of the project, one-off financial scholarships of PLN 400 will be funded for the purposes of individual educational needs of 2 010 students from 96 Polish schools in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine.
Almost 2,500 first formers will receive school kits
School kits in the form of equipped backpacks will go to 2,491 first-form students from 108 Polish schools in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine. In the case of Belarus, support is provided for 5 Polish social schools operating in connection with the Union of Poles in Belarus. As a result, 180 students will benefit from teaching materials and aids as well as IT equipment.