GPAS Praga – is a shortcut of Association’s full name: Grupa Pedagogiki i Animacji Spolecznej Praga Polnoc. We work in Warsaw, Poland, in Praga North and Wola district.
Andrzej Orlowski +48 880 860 220
Street: Szymanowskiego 6/61
Postal code: 03-477
WHO WE ARE:
We are group of people whom lot of socially and educationally neglected children is not indifferent. We struggle to change difficult conditions in witch they live, because children are not responsible for those circumstances.
To get through and reach those kids who really need help and care, we work as street educators, as street workers. We do not sit in closed walls of aid institutions, but we go out and wonder about the streets, we go into dark, dirty and derelict spaces where those kind of unwanted and rejected kids spend their time. We offer them our help: our time, our energy ,our enthusiasm, and our patience as well as plenty of attractive ways of spending time in different ways than they are used to.
Our aim is to turn them back from the streets.
We are the first organization in Poland witch began working with street children in their own, direct environments – in open spaces of streets and rough estates. Because of our effort they get a chance to finish schools, to get out of bad habits and addictions, go away for holidays or to realize artistic projects. They get a chance to start something what basically for the majority of people is just a normal life.
We do not torn them out from their world, but we try to show them another and different way of living the life than the one they know from their environment.
We don’t need any premises to achieve that. From our hands they get to youth clubs, psychological services, therapists. They get back to school, even that many of them hated it.
We are professional team. We operate in the field of non governmental organizations and that gives us large freedom of action what is particularly important, because with this kind of children is not possible to work according to one and certain type of program.
We are those who educate the street!!!
Children spending their time on the streets is becoming an ever more common scene in the Praga district. They run away from their homes and schools. They are being kicked out of youth clubs because they cannot handle the behavioral rules established in such places (no smoking, no swearing etc.)
They feel rejected by everybody, so at any price they try to attract attention. Because of boredom and a lack of prospects, they hit on ideas the consequences of which are really destructive for them. If we don’t reach these children in time, and if we did not try to help them, they may become homeless, unemployed; they will remain on the margins of society. Some of them will end up in prison.
That’s why we try not to let it happen. We don’t want these children to duplicate the pattern of their parents’ lives so we spend time with them and offer alternatives to emptiness, boredom and idleness.
Our work breaks ranks from established schemes. We do not have a youth-club and many of the activities we run take place directly in the children’s environment, in the areas where they spend most of their time. With time, a relationship of friendship and cooperation develops between us and the kids—a relationship often lacking in their homes, schools, etc.
We never moralize, forbid or order them to do something. Instead we listen to them, respect and accept them as they are, with their issues, behavior, and family problems.
Because they hardly ever leave their district we try to organize activities in other parts of the city and run projects which break the boring reality of their lives. They can count on us throughout all the year, seven days a week.
Sports, arts, culture, film-making and photography are just some examples of what we offer to our youngsters. After some time they come up with their own ideas for projects.
Our work with a child usually lasts around two years or more. After this time our pupils are ready to join the youth club, go back to school, and respect the norms and rules followed by the majority of people.
To achieve this result we have to work very intensively. It is not easy to gain their trust, and without that no form of help would be really effective.
It is very important to be present in the child’s environment, to be in touch with the parents. It is also very important to cooperate with other aid or professional institutions and organizations.
We work in open city spaces, outside youth clubs and other institutions which run programmes and activities for children.
We meet kids in the direct areas of their activity: on the streets, in building corridors, parks, cellars or abandoned buildings and lofts.
Since 1997 the area of our activity has been a rough district of Warsaw—North Praga, in particulr streets like Stalowa, Strzelecka, Srodkowa, Szwedzka, Wilenska, Konopacka, Brudnowska, and Inzynierska. This side of Praga is quite a specific area in Warsaw. There are beautiful buildings which survived the World War Second intact, but unfortunately have not been renovated or maintained and they remained quite neglected. All this gives a special and unique atmosphere. Cheap rent and old architecture, so rare nowadays in Warsaw, attract more and more artists who open up art studios there, but basically this part of the city faces the problem of social exclusion.
There are no playgrounds or even benches to sit on.
On this side of Praga there is a higher concentration than elsewhere of broken and conflicted families whose members often clash with the law.
A particularly serious problem of this neighbourhood is widespread alcoholism and, more recently, drug-related problems.
Since 2013 we work in other rough district of Warsaw – Wola. Streets like Gibalskiego, Żytnia, Karolkowa are the area of our activity.
Moreover we don’t limit our activity only to sitting with kids in their direct neighbourhood. We try to get the kids—at least for some time—out of the dirty and ragged buildings and streets into a different and interesting world where there are cinemas, theatres, gyms, exciting people and attractive places.
Our charges are between 8 and 18 years of age, but we came across children as young a three years old already spending most of their time on the streets.
They are poor and neglected, sometimes hungry.
They face problems in their homes and very often this is the reason why they run away to the streets.
They play truant from school because they cause the teachers trouble, or nobody notices their problems.
They admit that they use alcohol and drugs. Sometimes in abandoned lofts or cellars, some of them inhale gas from disposable lighters, sniff glue, have sex…
Nearly all of them have come into conflict with the law. Often-, because of petty, minor crimes they are made wards of court.
Society neither tolerates nor accepts them because they are represent the dregs of society.
They are called “street children” as they give all of their free time to the street, even though they have homes where they spend the night.
They are suspicious and mistrustful, frustrated and left to fend for themselves.
They don’t believe in themselves and are not self-confident. To survive they have to be violent and aggressive. At the same time they are quite smart, and often very intelligent.
HOW CAN YOU HELP
GPAS Prga functions thanks to auctions, charity events, donations, grants, and sponsors. We do not reject any financial help, however small.
Bank account number: 69 1240 6074 1111 0000 4989 7548
You can also help in other ways than donation:
If you can offer an interesting proposition, if you work in an exciting, extraordinary place where we could visit with our youngsters or you create art and you could lead a workshop, or if you have any other good ideas, please get touch with us.