Women Leading Peace: Delegation Dispatch - Day One

Krakow, Poland. #World Refugee Day

Marking World Refugee Day, Nobel peace laureates Tawakkol Karman, Leymah Gbowee, and Jody Williams began their #WomenLeadPeace delegation to Poland and Ukraine by meeting with refugee women at shelters run by JCC Krakow and the IdeaFix project, and a psychosocial support program by The Azadi Project. They also met with Polish and Ukrainian women activists to hear more about the lifesaving work they are doing in the context of the world’s largest displacement crisis and ways they are calling to be included in formal and informal peace talks and decision-making processes.

The first visit was to Witalnia Mother & Child safe space (Krakow). “When we heard about the needs of children, we changed from a fashion store – in just three days – to a daycare.” Anna Lemanska, Witalnia coordinator, worked in fashion design before the war.

"This daycare centre doesn’t just help for now. It needs to be sustainable. A place for women to leave their kids while they learn Polish, look for work, get support – all while knowing that their children are safe.” – Anna Maria Kwiatek, Witalnia

The #WomenLeadPeace delegation also visited a women and children’s psychosocial support project run by The Azadi Project on #WorldRefugeeDay. Women shared stories of fleeing Ukraine & finding safety, support, community in Krakow. “I believe in the power of truth. Truth about what is happening with this war.” –Participant

“They were bombing my city. It was hard to escape. My child doesn’t sleep at all. But now it is more or less ok. I believe in the power of love. I think love is when people help each other.” – The Azadi Projects’s psychosocial support participant to #WomenLeadPeace delegation.

“I have no words for what they have done to Ukraine. My pain now is because of the stories of other people. How they survived. How they escaped from that place. I am screaming to make people pay attention.” — Psychosocial support participant told #WomenLeadPeace.

Next the #WomenLeadPeace delegation met w/ Polish & Ukrainian women activists at a meeting in Krakow. “We have witnessed your courage, resilience & determination to save lives, protect rights, & build peace.” Maria Butler, Executive Director Nobel Women’s Initiative.

“If women’s voices were allowed to be heard, the world would be a different place.” Jody Williams on #WomenLeadPeacedelegation, listening to Polish and Ukrainian activists working for peace. “I am Ukrainian & since the war I could not live my previous life so I started a hotline for Ukrainian women – for women who are vulnerable to have a safe place to text to get information.” Civil society participant living in Krakow

“We need to build awareness that the LGBTQ+ community is also fleeing the war and they need safe spaces.” — Ukrainian activist living in Krakow at a meeting of activists and civil society member.

Grateful to partner The Azadi Project for work as ground organizers in Poland and for coordinating this fruitful, informative meeting with civil society organizations & activists. Also much love and gratitude to all women who attended & shared so richly. We will carry your msgs! #WomenLeadPeace

That evening, in Krakow with #WomenLeadPeace delegation to support Ukrainian & women facing conflict.

@TawakkolKarman spoke at #WorldRefugeeDay event. “As a human rights activist, as a Nobel laureate, and as a Yemeni, I am with you. Your struggles are our struggles. Your pain is our pain,” she said. “I stand here in solidarity with #Ukraine, in solidarity with their right to live in dignity & #peace, to express our rejection of Russian President Putin’s war waged against Ukraine. The war that’s causing huge human and material losses.”



Photo credit: Ania Bystrowska/Nobel Women's Initiative


Delegation dispatches

Day two: Krakow, Poland (21 June 2022)
Day three: Krakow, Poland (22 June 2022)


Delegation to Poland and Ukraine 2022 (Flickr)

For an overview of the Poland/Ukraine delegation click here