Immediately following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February, Ukrainian authorities made as one of their focal points the emergency evacuation of children in Ukrainian state orphanages to neighboring Poland.
Some 1,500 children have been safely evacuated from foster care institutions in cities from Kharkiv and Lviv to Kiev and Odessa, to 10 long-term locations in Poland, by Happy Kids. This has been done together with the UN Global Contact Network Poland, and with Ukrainian and Polish authorities.
Hydro Extrusions, which operates three manufacturing plants in Poland, is making the EUR 50,000 donation to Happy Kids. “This is a very good and deserving cause,” says Paul Warton, executive vice president responsible for Hydro Extrusions.
“Our Polish organization has already provided support for employees and their families and we wanted to extend our efforts to children who aren’t as fortunate, who don’t have their families with them.”
Basic needs and care
The children who have been relocated are aged from 7 days to 18 years, and around half have some type of disability. The donation from Hydro will be used to help with:
- Infrastructure, food and clothing
- Medical support
- Psychological care
- Educational support
- Developmental activities
“Post-war, we would like to provide family-type foster care for Ukrainian children who lost their parents in the war, and move away from the system of big state orphanages,” says Przemysław Macholak, who is heading the Ukraine Crisis Response for Happy Kids.
Fantastic local support in Poland
Hydro employs 1,500 people in Poland at its aluminium extrusion manufacturing plants in Chrzanów, Łódź and Trzcianka. The employee group includes some 400 people from Ukraine.
Since the start of the war, the sites have shown tremendous engagement in supporting the families of their Ukrainian colleagues, says Łukasz Winiarek, who manages the plant in Łódź. He points out as examples the organization of transport, temporary living quarters, food and material needs, language courses, and support with paperwork. “We also offered jobs to refugees, as needed,” he says.
In addition, Hydro refurbished unused sections of its plant in Trzcianka for use as a type of hotel for refugees, says plant director Piotr Wielinski, adding that the Polish sites have received donations from Hydro Extrusions in recognition and support of this work. “Care is one of Hydro’s core values,” he says.
In March, employees and Hydro initiated a two-week fundraising campaign and raised EUR 1 million in support of UNICEF's work in Ukraine.
About Hydro Extrusions
Part of the Norway-based Hydro group, Hydro Extrusions is a world-leading aluminium extrusion business counting around 100 production sites in 40 countries and employing 21,000 people. Through our unique combination of local expertise, global network, and unmatched R&D capabilities, we can offer everything from standard profiles, to advanced development and manufacturing for most industries.
About Happy Kids
Happy Kids is a leading Polish non-governmental organization, founded in 2001 to provide a chance for a happy childhood for children in Polish orphanages with no chances for adoption. It has created 17 family-type foster homes and provides professional foster care, child protection, medical and psychological support to children with trauma, disabilities, and reuniting groups of siblings in one home.
: July 11, 2022