BARKA IS at the meeting with Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs

Last Saturday, 7th of April 2019, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jacek Czaputowicz, met Polish immigrants in Iceland. Tomasz Flinik, the representative of Barka IS, talked about the support provided to Polish citizens in difficult life situations by our organization in the capital area. The meeting took place in the Polish Embassy in Reykjavik.

Tomasz Flinik (Barka IS) attended the meeting with Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz and Polish Ambassador Gerard Pokruszynski/ fot. FB Polish Embassy in Reykjavik

Reportage about Barka IS

The television programme about Barka IS project has been released!
First part was released on 6th of March 2018 in RÚV TV and part No 2 a week after.
You can learn about Barka work both in Poland and in Iceland.
You can watch the first part of it here and the second one here.

You can also find the whole article in polish about us on Iceland News Polska here.

Styles of Practicing Psychotherapy as part of Addiction Therapy

On the end of November 2017 one of Barka IS represenative participated in two days Conference about „Styles of Practicing Psychotherapy” as part of the Addiction Therapy Forum Brok. The honorary patron of the conference was PARPA director Krzysztof Brzózka who opened the meeting. One of the speakers was Professor Czesław Czabała who stayed throughout the whole conference and there was an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the professor’s scientific work.

The topic was styles of practicing therapy in various approaches from analytical approach through psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive behavioral and Gestalt. An important voice that encouraged and supported participants in the changes was the lecture by Jagoda Fudała „Dogmas and paradigmas in addiction therapy”

Professor Czesław Czabała ended the conference with a message to therapists about the importance of their work, the need to develop and search for new solutions in the therapy of addicts.

At the conference we have learned that the scheme of stigmatization and labeling towards client is broken. Most important is patient with his capabilities and limitations. On therapist side there is a huge responsibility, attention and exceptional vigilance to give the patient what he needs, what he is ready for, what he is able to take, lift, and not what is needed for therapists. Until recently, the therapist was an unquestionable authority, a specialist who knew everything, who was always right, who knew better what the patient’s goal was and what he needed at the moment. There is still an authoritarian approach in many places where the patient is punished for the symptoms of the disease. Accounting, taking consequences, loading is a well-known procedure. Therapists were taught that the patient must touch the bottom, feel the weight, break it, that this is the only way to sobriety. And each breaking of abstinence was proof that you need to respond more strongly and more radically.

After the conference, we know thet we have to go to the other side of helping. We have to give space to the client so that he can be himself. Coming to therapist with their problems, suffering, difficulties, they expect help and not enforcing immediate change. Therapists have to accompany, help to understand and accept. They have to give space for talking and experiencing difficult emotions. They cannot force a change,but wait for it. The therapist is not a guru who knows better, knows all the answers. Today, our approach in therapy to the patient is above all accepting rather than confronting and pushing. Today we are accompanying, helping to bring out client potential and strength that will help him build new skills in dealing with his difficulties.

Barka Ireland study visit to Reykjavik

Team of Bark Ireland has visited Reykjavik and spent some time working with Barka Iceland team. Below you will find a short note how the visit went (written by Aleksandra)

28th of Sep to 02nd of October

Barka Ireland study visit to Reykjavik.

  The first day we arrived in the afternoon and we had opportunity to explore the city. Reykjavik really tells me what a small city is supposed to be in the 21st century. Apart from the small amount of public transport and the sprawl, I really think this is a good-looking role model for a small city when it comes to infrastructure. The buildings are all contemporary, even somewhat futuristic.

Next day we went to visit one of the shelters. In the city of Reykjavík there are three shelters, one of them is for woman only and another, the bigger one is for adult’s man and woman. People are allowed to enter the shelter at 4 pm and they have to leave the place in the morning after having a breakfast at around 10 am.

There is one day centre for the homeless where they can have second breakfast and lunch. It´s open from 10 am to 2 pm, everyone is welcome and the place is visited by anyone looking for a free meal, a place to sit and read the paper or a place to meet with friends. We meet polish group of homeless people who live in Iceland between 4 to 13 years. We spent with them few hours. Their stories are quite similar to the stories of homeless people we’re working in Dublin. Of course homelessness and rough sleeping are far more complex than simply finding yourself on the street one day; any number of issues – mental health, drugs and alcohol, crime – play their part. People were very friendly and openly talked about their life in Iceland. Most of them said that one day they will do somethings, stop drinking and look for job, they said that if people want to work in Iceland, they can find job very quickly.

We had opportunity to meet with manager of the shelter. During that meeting we found out that between 30 and 50 percent of those who take advantage of the shelter are foreigners, most of them Polish, with legal residence in Reykjavík. Mostly these are men who came here for work. Following the economic crash, they have lost their jobs and homes and battled alcoholism. It’s hard for them to seek treatment, since there is no offer in Polish language and these men typically do not have strong English and Icelandic skills.

This meeting for me personally was very inspiring because we not only found out interesting information about rights of homeless people in Iceland but I could also see that the person who manage that place was able to openly talk about his own path , I could see that for him working with homeless people is very close to his heart.

The day after we went to the City Hall to meet one of the person who works with migrants and refugees. Joanna is a Polish lady who lives in Iceland for 13 years. From that meeting I definitely learned that homeless people in Iceland have stronger social support than in Dublin. Reykjavik city is also implementing Housing First program and accommodating people in social housing, although the list for this kind of place is quite long. Most of individuals who are homeless are between 21 and 30 years old but the youngest is 18 years old and the oldest 75. There is more man than women.

The weekend we have spent traveling around Iceland. This was only thanks to kindness of amazing team of Barka Iceland: Jurek, Dorota, Magda. Their warm welcome and great companion during our visit and our road trip make our stay very pleasant and full of interesting time. Thank you so much Dorota, Jurek and Magda.

Aleksandra Kubiak
Barka Ireland

Radio interview about Barka

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Joanna Marcinkowska, who works now at the Human Rights Office Reykjavikurborg was interviewed about  our Barka IS project, which has already worked in Iceland for half a year. Joanna is very involved in the project and thanks to her Barka foundation was  invited to cooperate with Reykjavikurborg.
You can listen to the interview here: it starts at 44th minute.

BARKA IS team countinues working in Reykjavik

Samningur við Barka undirritaður sl. föstudag. Frá vinstri Joanna Marcinkowska, frá mannréttindaskrifstofu, Dorota Harembska, frá Barka í London, Kristjana Gunnarsdóttir, Jóna Guðný Eyjólfsdóttir og Þóra Kemp fá velferðarsviði.

At the end of May, there was an official meeting with Barka IS coordinator and Reykjavikurborg representatives. Both parties mutually decided on extending and renewing the contract.
The new contract was signed on the 19th of June 2017.
You can read more about it here on the Reykjavikurborg website.
We are truly happy to be able to continue working in Iceland. Previous months have shown us how much Barka IS work is needed in Reykjavik.