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THE FOUNDATION FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS A NETWORK OF INTERNATIONAL CORPORATIONS ACTIVELY WORKING IN POLAND TO AFFECT POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY. WE FEED, EDUCATE AND EMPOWER POOR CHILDREN IN POLAND. COLLECTIVELY, WE HAVE FED OVER 6 MILLION HOT MEALS TO SOME OF POLAND’S MOST NEEDY CHILDREN. OUR MISSION IS TO LEAD THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN RAISING THE LEVEL AND QUALITY OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

March 31, 2014 Vol. 11, No.13

"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers."
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

SPECIAL PROMISELAND EASTER TREAT

We are always looking for new ways to make life better for our PromiseKids. “What more,” some would say… You feed the PromiseKids every school day, you teach them English, music, dance, and you are always doing something special for them.”

Well, we figure that with Easter just 20 days away, we should do something special to celebrate this year. Meg, Basia and Natalie decided that we will sponsor an Easter Card competition for the Primary School kids in the Bierzwnica School, similar to the one we did last year in the Toporzyk Primary School. We will select the best Easter Cards, and the kids will send them to our Foundation member companies. The kids are always asking how they can thank these incredible people who support them in so many ways.

A special day is planned for April 8th. We will select the best Easter Cards, and the kids will participate in a series of fun-filled games, and competitive events, such as running with an egg in a spoon, face painting, and a chocolate bunny hunt. This will be a very special time for the school and the PromiseKids

Bierzwnica, with its 600 inhabitants, is the second largest village in Swidwin County. Although most people try to find jobs in Swidwin, which is about 12 km away, many parents have to leave their children with grandparents or other family members to go abroad and earn money for their families. They usually go to Germany or England, where they work as painters, waiters, caregivers or carpenters. This is understandable, as the average income per month in this area is 1700 PLN (around $525) and the unemployment rate is high, reaching 30%. Most of the Communist era cooperative farms, which were located in Bierzwnica, now lay dormant and in ruins.

PARENTS OF DISABLED CHILDREN CONTINUE TO STRIK

The deinstitutionalization of handicapped children in America was one of my passions during the late1960s and early 1970s. The topic frequently took me to Capitol Hill to express my views before various oversight committees of the US Congress. Having conducted research with mentally retarded children in some of America’s most deplorable public and private institutions, I had personally experienced some of the most striking examples of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, and I was driven to do something about it.

It took some years and a great deal of lobbying on the part of many of us before our cause was recognized in 1975, with the passage of Public Law 94-142 the "Education of All Handicapped Children Act," now called Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (IDEA)

I am proud to say that PL 94-142 required that all handicapped children be educated in the least restrictive environment possible (public schools), and the institutionalization or warehousing of handicapped kids became passé rather quickly. It wasn’t very much longer that all types of American institutions began emptying their back wards and notorious dayrooms, and the institutionalization of all children, including orphans, fell by the wayside.

Now, many of you can understand why my heart goes out to the parents of disabled children who have been on strike in the Polish Parliament building since March 19th.

The sit-in by the parents at the parliament building continued this week after the group rejected a new offer from the government. Over 20 parents and their children have been camped in the halls of the Parliament to protest what they claim are a series of broken promises by Prime Minister Donald Tusk to increase the amount of money care-givers receive for looking after their disabled children at home. The government proposed on Tuesday to raise the monthly payment to care-givers of PLN 1,000 ($330 USD) after tax beginning in May of this year, to PLN 1,200 in 2015 and to PLN 1,300 in 2016 bringing the amount up to the national minimum wage. The government also proposed to backdate the increase which would give most care-givers approximately PLN 5,000 ($1,666 USD).

But the proposal, which still needs to be voted on by parliament, was rejected by the parents. One of them, Iwona Hartwich, told Monika Olejnik on TVN “This proposal would have been good in 2011, when the Prime Minister travelled on the Tuskobus (the nickname of his election bus) and promised a system of support. We do not intend to leave the Parliament. We hope that the Prime Minister might take time to reflect.” The parents have hinted that they would be prepared to end the protest if they received PLN 1,100 now and an increase to the minimum wage in 2015. Mr. Tusk told a press conference on Tuesday that the cabinet had agreed to move funds in the budget earmarked for road improvements to cover the cost of the increase in care-givers’ payments.

The protest has attracted politicians from all sides with some being accused of using the parents’ plight to score cheap points ahead of European elections in May. Janusz Palikot, leader of the Your Movement (TR) party, was recorded telling his party members that they had missed an opportunity to help their campaign by not making more of the protest.

The government was defended by MP Jan Filip Libicki from Civic Platform (PO), himself a cerebral palsy sufferer, who said the Prime Minister had “made a human gesture” by meeting twice with the parents and addressing their grievances at a time when he was under a lot of pressure because of the situation in Ukraine. He also accused members of opposition parties and the Solidarity union of “scandalous populism” in the way they had become involved in the dispute.

The strike may continue on for some time to come with little progress made by the care-givers. The strike is well worth the effort and the protesters will make a few points that may lead to a better governmental understanding of the special needs and requirements of disabled people and their families.

OVER HALF OF POLES AGAINST JOINING THE EURO ZONE

More than half (52 percent) of Poles believe that Poland's adopting the European common currency would be bad for the country, according to a survey by TNS Polska, a 2 percent increase from the last poll taken in December 2013.

Meanwhile, only 14 percent think the euro would have a positive effect in Poland while 22 percent think it would have no effect on the country's economy. In total, 44 percent of Poles think their country should adopt the euro, a 1 percent decrease from the December survey.

PROMISEKID MAKES GOOD

Click on the link below and listen to a special recording of “People Help People” by our former PromiseKids Gosia Gibert

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWcgIPEwkP8

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HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP OUR PROMISEKIDS

Our Dollar a Day program may be just what you have been looking for and the PayPal method of delivering your money makes it so easy. We pay just about $1.00 to feed one hungry Polish child a hot-meal per school day, $20.00 per month, $200.00 per year. Click PayPal below to contribute.

DATES TO REMEMBER

April 8, 2014 - Easter Card Party at the Bierzwnica School

May 9, 2014 - Final contest for “You can Dance in the Promiseland” at the Lekowo School

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

"Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye."

-- Antoine de Saint Exupery

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