Our local guide Monika talks about why she is so passionate about her new Krakow tour, which teams up with social enterprise organisation ŻyWa Pracownia (Alive Lab) to support local residents who are living below the poverty line:
My team and I have partnered up with ŻyWa Pracownia (Alive Lab), a socially engaged organisation based in the Podgorze neighborhood of Krakow, that specialises in giving workshops on traditional crafts, design, architecture and urban gardening. The main idea of its creators, Magda and Adam, was to combine nature and folk culture (a natural combination for them as Magda has a background in arts and crafts and is fascinated by Polish ethnographic design, while Adam is a nature lover with highly effective social skills). Together they are dedicated to ecological and cultural education and to the promotion of a world which is open for everybody, without any social or cultural barriers. The organisation is very hands-on in the local community, regularly working on community projects such as designing natural spaces for children, building outdoor installations that enhance neighbourhoods, and introducing urban gardens to built-up areas.
All the workshops run by ŻyWa Pracownia are open for all, particularly those at risk of social exclusion; street children, senior citizens, the poor, the disabled, refugees and the homeless. Many workshops are held at the organisation’s HQ, 5 Celna Street, but they also do a lot of out reach work. ŻyWa Pracownia cooperates with many local non-profit organisations and cultural institutions and are very visible the whole year round as they participate in numerous festivals and cultural events such as the Ethno Festival in Krakow, the Feast for the Poor, the Pannonica Folk Festival in Beskidy mountains etc.
Krakow Urban Adventures’ In Focus Souvenir Making Workshop is your special invitation to see the real city of Krakow, with its joys and sorrows, without separation between locals and foreigners. If you join us on this tour, not only will you learn how to make a traditional Polish folk doll to take home with you, you’ll learn about Polish history and local traditions as well as everyday life in the city and the challenges its citizens face and you’ll contribute directly to the great work of ŻyWa Pracownia.
ŻyWa Pracownia are also behind the very special Sunday initiative called – Zupa na Plantach (Soup in the Planty Park), which began somewhat spontaneously some years ago but soon became a weekly tradition that inspires people people all over Poland. Thanks to ŻyWa Pracownia every single Sunday local volunteers work together to prepare a huge pot full of tasty, hot soup; they then bring it from their kitchen to Planty Park near the railway station to share with poverty-stricken local people. Inclusion is a big part of the initiative; eating together shows that the poor are accepted and encouraged to talk about their problems and open up.
In addition to this project, ZyWa Pracownia also provides clothes and hygienic materials for those in need and a Mobile Library for the Homeless which provides easy and free access to education and culture for people who cannot afford to buy books or simply have no home to collect them.
We at Krakow Urban Adventures love what ZyWa Pracownia are doing and we constantly keep our fingers crossed for the success of their mission of helping others. That is why we promote them a lot during our tours and why we participate in the Zupa na Plantach Sundays project regularly. Proceeds from our In Focus Souvenir Making Workshop go directly to support this initiative.
Our tour guests know that the beautiful dolls that they are taking home with them from Krakow as a gift have a story behind them. Each doll made on the tour provides 5 free soups for local people in need. Isn’t it great that you can create something for you and help others at the same time? We really think it is!