Poland is a village located in the Republic of Kiribati, which consists of 33 islands and atolls. The biggest one of them is Kiritimati, also called the Christmas Island, discovered by an English sailor James Cook on Christmas Day in 1777. It’s the biggest island in the country. Together with its lagoon, it covers almost 70% of the whole territory of the Republic of Kiribati, one of the poorest countries in the world.
Currently the village is the smallest settlement on the island with only 400 residents. Unfortunately, in several years this place can disappear from the surface of the earth. There is no industry or tourist infrastructure there. People live mainly from picking coconuts their dried kernel, copra. There is a kindergarten, a primary school and a church in the village but there is no health care, electricity or running water provided. Thus, young people who have no perspectives there leave for bigger towns and the island is becoming deserted.
In 2012 a humanitarian and research project called Poland Helps Poland was launched. Its author, Doctor Dariusz Zdziech, told us about its beginnings:
After these articles were published and more information about the project appeared in the media, Dariusz Zdziech started to receive e-mails from many people who wanted to join him in helping the village of Poland. In this way the idea to organise meetings for volunteers and fans was born. Their conversations, ideas and plans resulted in founding the Poland Helps Poland Foundation in July 2015.
“The Foundation’s primary objective is to help people living in the village of Poland. There is a shortage of everything there. We want to buy a van to transport building materials. There is also no hospital and the equipment available in the ambulatory room is very limited.
We are not able to help the whole island but we can help the poorest village. On 5th September I’m going to Kiritimati again. I will take some medicines, tablets for the school and some equipment collected with the help of many wonderful people. Unfortunately, I can only take as much as I can pack in my backpack for now but I hope that with our mutual efforts and commitment we will soon manage to organise a large transport to the island – says Dariusz Zdziech – In 2018, which is the centenary of Poland regaining its independence, we want to build a Polish House in the village. There is also an idea for the Ministry of the Environment to raise an energy-saving house, which would promote Polish science and innovative technologies.”
On 1 March 2015 the Polish government initiated diplomatic relations with the Republic of Kiribati and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took the honorary patronage over the Poland Helps Poland Project.
Who knows? Maybe one day the smallest village on the Kiritimati Island will become our embassy in the Pacific Ocean…
…everything depends on the support of many people. Every form of help is needed!
Link to Poland has been supporting the Poland Helps Poland project from the very beginning and we are going to continue this support. You can find the latest information about the project’s progress and its next phases in our portal.
The support for the village of Poland is one of the accompanying events for another project, the Polish Himalayas 2018 – from the Baltic Sea to Mount Everest, organised on the centenary of Poland regaining its independence (11 November 2018). The patrons of the event include Polish Radio, Polish TV and the Polish Press Agency.
Photo © Dariusz Zdziech