Why do we do that?
Migrants, including refugees that are in Lublin will have their good place, a safe space available to as wide a group of people as possible. Help will be offered by an international, intercultural team consisting of workers of non-governmental organizations experienced in working with migrant communities, providing humanitarian aid and promoting human rights as well as city officials engaged in public participation, cooperating with non-governmental organizations, promoting integration of foreigners and equality on a daily basis. The developed solutions will become a permanent part of the city management system.
What's happening here?
The program aimed at migrants, including refugees, serves their social, professional and cultural activation. We want them to become independent in their daily lives in a fairly short time so that they can come up with their own initiatives, for which the baobab space will always be open.
On the other hand, thinking of integration as a two-way process, we will direct part of our activities to the host society - us - the residents of Lublin. We are committed to making baobab a meeting place and building bonds between new and old residents of the city. We also treat this space as a kind of laboratory of integration: our good practices, proven tools, and multithreaded discussions among Lublin residents, supported by research conducted both by our experts and other research centres will be used for technical implementation in Lublin institutions, organizations or commercial companies.
The substantive basis of Baobab's operation will be the experience gained from the work of the Lublin Social Committee for Aid to Ukraine, which was established just hours after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the first months of the war, it covered 21 areas of work, such as a 24-hour hotline for people fleeing Ukraine, housing, legal assistance, psychological assistance, child care, food assistance, cross-cultural assistance, translation, translation volunteers at accommodation points, information activities, transportation and logistics, a library with Ukrainian-language literature, an intervention hostel for vulnerable people, the job market and others.
We asked a few people walking through the streets of Lublin what they associate with the word "baobab".
In 2017, after more than 150 years, the Lublin black poplar, a huge tree constituting the main landmark in the city's central square, was cut down. The last years of its life were a process of slow dying. Poorly cared for, and ailing, it eventually fell under the onslaught of storms.
But this is not the end of the story. In mid-2022, we decided to revive its memory. No longer by simply planting, but by creating a safe place for meetings, work and study just 150 meters away for all people who are new to Lublin, who want to get to know each other and integrate. Hence the name "baobab - place, meetings, neighbourhood".
According to the legends, the baobab didn't want to be just a tree, it wanted to wander around the world... just like many people living in Lublin today.
Together, we will do our best to make baobab an inspiring, growing and safe place for everyone.