New community house opens in Cracow

New community house opens in Cracow

On 14 March, Emmaus de Brat Albert in Poland opened a new community house in Cracow. The house will improve companions’ living conditions and was built thanks to solidarity between Emmaus organisations worldwide.

Initially established in Nowy Sacz in Southern Poland, Emmaus Brat Albert was further extended in 2003 when it opened a new site in Cracow. For six years, the group stepped up its collection and retail activities there before deciding in 2009 to invest in building a community house.

Since it didn’t have the funds to launch the project alone, Emmaus Brat Albert appealed for international and European solidarity. With their solidarity sales in 2009, Emmaus groups around the world raised 193,000 Euros. The Polish organisation was then able to purchase a plot of land in the suburbs of Cracow and began construction work on the house. Specialist companies and companions carried out the work over four years. Emmaus Europe has also backed the group, which organised two solidarity work camps, and contributed close to 40,000 Euros for completions to the house.

The opening on 14 March brought together around a hundred representatives of Emmaus organisations from Poland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Austria and Romania. There was a great atmosphere – everyone was delighted to see what their solidarity has made possible.

Fourteen companions now live at the community in Cracow. “The house has really changed the group’s life”, says Community Leader, Grzegorz Hajduk. “The companions now feel at home here.  Taking part in workshops, doing the gardening, taking care of the animals all help with their well-being.”

Whilst continuing to collect and recycle goods, the community is now also diversifying its activities. Ten people are being trained in order set up a carpentry workshop and a workshop to repair domestic appliances. In future, the group would like to renovate its shop, where it sells goods collected locally and goods sent by groups in other European countries.

“This house is probably one of the best examples of solidarity in the Emmaus movement. We could never have been able to build it in such a short time only using our resources”, says Grzegorz Hajduk.

In a continuing show of solidarity, a work camp is being held from 23 May – 7 June this year at the Nowy Sacz and Cracow sites to make further improvements to the facilities and to complete the ongoing work.