According to the report issued by the Office for Foreigners, 4,135 people applied for international protection in Poland in 2018. As a result, 185 were granted refugee status, 221 subsidiary protection, and 212 foreigners were granted the so-called national protection (permit for a tolerated stay or a stay on humanitarian grounds). In 11 centres for foreigners and elsewhere, there are around 3,500 people who have applied for international protection and who usually wait for about a year to have their application processed. Depending on the granted status, the foreigners have a certain set of rights and possible financial aid.
This information can be found, with considerable difficulty, on the website of the Polish Office for Foreigners. It leaves an impression that the presence of refugees is a taboo subject that, just in case, should not be raised in the public space, in order not to cause an uproar. At the same time, following available reports, we can clearly see that each year the number of people covered by international protection in Poland increases.
We are a group of women comprising refugees from Iraq, Dagestan and Tajikistan, a Chechen activist as well as Polish actresses, a director and a choreographer. On stage, we will openly discuss what we share and what divides us: we will talk about common values and joys, mutual concerns, individual plans, women’s roles and rights, cultural differences, traditional cuisines, or on our reading of the male narrative in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. We want to underline that refugees come to Poland carrying not only their tragedies, but above all, their life and work experiences, interesting skills and constructive plans for the future.