Kadir Tasdelen, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) Country Manager in Eastern Europe provides updates on support for orphans and mothers and their children in Poland.

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”
~ Lao Tzu

You can help us provide direct support to Ukrainian refugees by donating here.

This month when many are celebrating Easter, Passover, Ramadan and the hope that Spring brings, we are reminded that sacrifice and difficult times can sometimes lead to happy endings.

Watching the nightly news and learning of the atrocities being inflicted upon civilians is heartbreaking and can make one feel helpless. But together, we are not helpless – and together, we are helping many people find their new beginnings.

While we optimistically hope these women and children will eventually be reunited with the men in their lives and be able to return to Ukraine, we are realistically providing for their immediate needs and planning for the long term future.

Your generous donations enable us to provide housing, food, education and basic needs for hundreds – soon to be thousands – of displaced people.

Prior to Covid and the war in Ukraine, Grand Circle Foundation typically received $1 million dollars in donations each year from our generous travelers which was then sent to schools and villages around the world. To support the Ukrainian refugees, more than $2 million dollars has been received in the past 6 weeks. Sounds like a lot of money, but the need is great, and we have already wired and pledged $1,621,506 to Poland, Romania and Ukraine – and Kadir in Poland, and Stefan in Romania continue to search for more opportunities to provide support.

We hope these updates will be a reminder that Grand Circle Foundation is committed for the long term to help as many people as possible start a new beginning.

Love and peace,

Harriet R. Lewis, Vice Chairman    Alan E. Lewis, Chairman

Trzebnica Orphanage, Poland

The mayor and community of Trzebinca donated a city building to be converted into an orphanage to house children displaced by the war in Ukraine. The building can be used by the orphanage as long as needed, with a plan for at least a year. Sadly, it may be longer.

Renovations began last month by volunteers and Grand Circle Foundation funded $13,869 to purchase beds, a refrigerator and freezer, dishwasher, and washer and dryer.

The orphanage received 100,000 Euro from their sister city, Kitzingen, Germany to help fund renovations. But much more needs to be done, as you can see in the photo below of the roof. Grand Circle Foundation is committing $198,637 to repair the roof, replace the heating system, provide food for 2 months, language education for 3 months, and field trips for the older children.

You can help these children by donating here.

Tamara, director of the orphanage in Zełenodolśk, Ukraine, now relocated to Trzebinca, Poland, shared the details of the journey from Ukraine to Poland with Kadir, pictured above.

Rocket attacks and cluster bombs began on February 24th. When the sirens were on, they took all the children to the basement shelter of the orphanage and only ventured upstairs for couple of hours each day to cook food and gather supplies.

On April 5, when they learned a safe place in Poland was prepared for the children, and it was safe to travel, they left Zelenodolsk and arrived at the Jagodzin border of Poland after a 17 hour journey. As they got closer to the border, they had to walk 2km and rested for 2 nights before they continued on. On April 8, they traveled another 9 hours to their new home in Trzebnica.

With the children safe in Poland, Tamara shared some details of life during the bombings. Russia used cluster bombs and two children picked up an unexploded one and unfortunately, they were killed in front of her. She says there are lots of similar incidents and the reason it will take at least a year after the war ends to ensure all the buildings and streets are safe and cleared of unexploded ammunitions.

Tamara’s brother, Andrzej is 50 years old and fighting in Kharkov. This week he was shot, hit with two bullets, but thankfully he is fine. They spoke on the phone and he said he is recuperating and will go back to fight as soon as he is well enough.

As Tamara protects the orphans and prepares for more children to arrive in Poland, her brother is preparing to return to the front lines to protect their homeland. We hope they will all stay safe.

Lena Grochowska Foundation (LGF), working with Arche Hotels, Poland

Picture below: Sanniki, where renovations began this week

In partnership with the Lena Grochowska Foundation, Grand Circle Foundation has funded $300,000 and is committed to funding $100,000 per building to adapt and equip eight locations to become permanent housing for approximately 2,000 people. There are group housings in two locations in Warszawa, Ożarów Mazowiecki, Konstancin, Siedlce, Lublin and Sanniki not far from Płock.

These buildings were donated by public institutions, local governments and private companies. Accommodations will include rooms for two-six people with fully equipped shared common rooms, bathroom and kitchen. We are trying our best to give families their own private spaces and dignity.

In addition to a safe place to sleep, Grand Circle Foundation, in partnership with LGF is providing food, and assistance with what is needed for the long term – helping people apply for Polish ID numbers to be eligible for services, choosing refugee or asylum status, medical, education and employment assistance, and language lessons.

You can help by donating here.

The recently renovated building, playroom, bathroom and kitchen of Grenadierow.

Happy kids at the recently opened Ozarowa, and a classroom full of moms at Wroclaw.
For the foreseeable future, our plan is to send a weekly update to keep our donors informed and to be as transparent as possible about how funds are being used. Thank you for your support and trust.

Thank you for your generous support of Grand Circle Foundation, and the trust you place in our team to ensure your donation is used as intended.

Because all administration costs are funded by the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation, 100% of all donations are tax deductible and returned to our partner sites.

If you made a donation to support a specific project and would like an update on how the funds were used, please feel free to contact us at: [email protected], or call 1‑800‑859‑0852.