Barka UK visit to Vancouver and Barka Canada 10th Anniversary celebrations: 15th – 25th March 2023

Two representatives of Barka UK, Ewa Sadowska and Andrew Keogh, attended the 10th anniversary of Barka Canada, which took place on the outskirts of Vancouver, in the province of British Columbia.

The celebratory seminar, which brought together more than 50 representatives of Polonia from various organisations and institutions in Canada, was associated with a study visit designed to observe the projects of Barka Canada and its partner organisations.

Barka Canada was founded by two social workers, Maria and Wlodek Placewicz, a married couple, who, after living in Canada for 30 years, were inspired by the activities aimed at the social and professional integration of excluded groups, carried out by Barka since 1989 in Poland.    

Barka Canada brings together Polonia’s extensive experience by aiding support groups of various kinds, along with self-help groups for people with addiction issues, and those who are socially isolated or who suffer from mental problems. Barka Canada also carries out educational internship programmes for Polish leaders who participate in study visits to the Barka Network in Poland.

The flagship project of Barka Canada is the cultivation of land donated by various people, through which Barka representatives, friends and people helped by Barka grow vegetables and herbs of all kinds. The funds earned by means of this activity are used for the development of the organisation.

Last year, Barka Canada organised a fundraising concert for Ukraine – the funds raised supported Ukrainian families who, while fleeing the war, found shelter and assistance from Barka, Greater Poland.

Ewa and Andrew also took part in an interview with RED FM Vancouver, meetings with Canadian prison system officials, a visit to a correctional facility for female adolescents with difficulties, the Polish Church, and a reserve whose residents were the first indigenous inhabitants of these areas.

With the help of the Polish Canadian Congress, with which Barka Canada works closely, we were able to work with representatives of the Canadian federal government. In Canada – a country of many possibilities, but also significant disparities and social divisions, one can discern the need for models based on community and social entrepreneurship, which Barka is developing in Poland and in Europe and which we are happy to share.

Barka Canada cordially thanks Fundacja Pomocy Wzajemnej Barka for this inspirational visit – we look forward to another fruitful 10 and more years of joint activities aimed at building brotherhood, community and economic solidarity.

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