Barka Canada is a non-profit organization of volunteers started in March 2013 to support socially and economically excluded East and Central European migrants with integration into Canadian society. We are affiliated with Barka Foundation, based in Poland, which started in 1989 to empower people marginalized by such factors as homelessness, unemployment and addiction to reintegrate back in to society. Please read further below about the Barka Foundation.
Our volunteers consist of two clinical counsellors, criminologist, drug and addiction counsellor, immigration officer, and others. So far we are helping people by guiding them to the right existing resources. We have established a 24-hour Infoline and are in the process of organizing the first of ongoing educational seminars on topics such as mental health, addiction, homelessness, etc. We are in the process of getting better established among other organizations in our Community.
Beginnings of Barka Foundation and Network
Barka Poland developed throughout years and gained experience in helping people who are excluded ( homeless, unemployed, ex-prisoners) to reintegrate socially and vocationally. There have been several programs created to help people grow and develop their potential, like educational programs ( e.g. Social Integration Centres) community programs, creating work places ( through social enterprises) and accessible housing programme. Some of these activities became models and served as justifications for new social legislation in Poland ( e.g. law on Social Employment, law on Social Cooperatives, Law on Public Profit work and Volunteering) Barka in Poland grew and now it is a network of associations, foundations and social business. Barka develops partnerships with local authorities and local business towards social inclusion and solidarity. More about Barka Foundation and Barka Network can be found at www.barka.org.pl .
First homeless migrants support projects of Barka started in 2007 when we were invited by local government to come to London to help Polish rough sleepers there. Similar projects were started in Copenhagen, Dublin and Hamburg. In 2011 Barka was invited by the local municipality of Utrecht to come to the Netherlands and start working with the homeless migrants here. The mission of Barka NL is to provide severely excluded Eastern European migrants with the opportunity for reconnection and social reintegration. We can support individuals within Barka Network projects in Poland, help them return to their families or support them in addressing their addiction and going into rehab. In our migrants support projects we work in the teams of two persons: leader and an assistant. The leader is a person who has a personal experience of homelessness and addiction, that he combated and rehabilitated within Barka Network educational and community programs. The assistant is a person who knows foreign language, has a formal education (e.g a degree in social work, psychology) and provides support to the leader. This method of work proved to be very effective in London, Dublin, Hamburg and Utrecht.
Idea Gospodarki Solidarnej towarzysząca od blisko ćwierćwiecza Fundacji Pomocy Wzajemnej Barka znalazła swoja uznanie również w Kanadzie. W dniu 20 marca 2013 roku została zarejestrowana “Barka Canada Social Integration Society” z siedziba w Surrey w zachodniej Kanadzie. Misją Barki Kanada jest niesienie pomocy grupom najbardziej potrzebującym a w tym koncentracja na tych, którzy przybyli do Kanady z Europy Środkowej i Wschodniej w poszukiwaniu lepszego bytu, a z różnych względów zostali zepchnięci na margines życia społecznego.
Misją Barka Kanada jest kontynuacja pracy według filozofii działania i standardów pracy Fundacji i Sieci Barka. Barka Kanada została założona przez Panią Marię Placewicz, będącą obecnie Przewodniczącą Zarządu, Włodzimierza Placewicza, Katarzynę Major, Piotra Respondek oraz Błażeja Babiarz.