United through shared history
A Belfast-based social enterprise, For Your Freedom & Ours C.I.C. runs an educational campaign providing shared history programmes between Poland and Northern Ireland to ensure a better integration of the communities. Through a series of visual presentations of the links between the different nations, and discovering connections to World War II of the Polish people currently living in Northern Ireland, it aims to tackle prejudice, discrimination and hate crime as well as foster community relations.
“I am hoping to reduce the negative emotions against people from different countries, but also help local people from Northern Ireland to understand what shared history is, and how other countries were able to deal with post conflict situations, with the hope that these examples will impact people in Northern Ireland and support the local peace process”, Maciek Bator, For Your Freedom & Ours Community Interest Company founder and Project Coordinator.
For Your Freedom & Ours creates visuals by using a number of tools, including exhibitions, publications, online gallery and lectures. It is designed for both youth and adults and available to individuals and groups, including youth groups, schools, colleges, universities , community groups and residents associations across Northern Ireland.
The real highlight of the project is a tour to the most iconic locations in Polish history such as Westerplatte and the World War II Museum in Gdansk, the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the Auschwitz Museum. There are also educational trips to Scotland and England following the footsteps of the Polish freedom fighters of the Polish Armed Forces and the Polish Air Forces.
The campaign’s steering committee includes the following prominent individuals who, beyond anything else, honour the values of freedom and identity:
- Air Vice-Marshal David Niven, Royal Air Force
- Jerome Mullen, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in Northern Ireland
- Ken Belshaw, Director at Grafton Recruitment
- Ernie Cromie, The Ulster Aviation Society
- Wanda Wojciechowicz/Henderson
The educational campaigh is available in two Open College Network accredited Programmes:
FYFO Shared History OCN Level 2 is an accredited programme, which provides a general introduction to historical links between Poland and Northern Ireland with the main focus on the Polish Airmen and the role they played in the Battle of Britain and WWII. The Cost of War, the Price of Freedom OCN Level 2 focuses on the uprising of totalitarianism in Europe, the aftermath of the Holocaust and the impact of the peace process after Second World War on the geopolitical situation in Europe.
A history that lives on Poland shares a history of struggles and sacrifice. Wiped off the map twice, as it’s neighbours partitioned the country towards the end of eighteenth century, it only regained it’s status of a country for twenty years before Nazi Germany and Russia invaded it in 1939. Five million Poles perished in World War II only to suffer another 50 years under the Soviet rule. Today, Poland is a free nation.
“If there is any country in the world entitled to talk about freedom it is Poland. With that history, Poland has the absolute credibility to promote this campaign and I offer my very best wishes for its success,“ Jerome Mullen GCM, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland.
The UK has seen an influx of young Poles flowing into the country and settling in since the country joined the European Union. Around 30,000 Polish people are believed to be living in Northern Ireland. The For Your Freedom & Ours educational campaign is a vital tool in bringing the different communities together and tackling social divides and misconceptions that surface in the modern day Northern Ireland. For there’s no better way to understand another community than through learning their history and sharing their experience.
For more information please contact:
For Your Freedom & Ours Project Coordinator