About us

Barka IS (Iceland) is affiliated with Barka Foundation, which was initiated in 1989 in Poland. Barka Poland developed throughout the years and gained experience in helping people who are excluded (homeless, unemployed, ex-prisoners, addicted) to reintegrate socially and vocationally. There have been several programs created to help people grow and develop their potential, like educational programs (e.g. Social Integration Centres) community programs, creating workplaces (through social enterprises), and accessible housing programs. Some of these activities became models and served as justifications for new social legislation in Poland (e.g. law on Social Employment, law on Social Cooperatives, Law on Public Profit work, and Volunteering). Barka in Poland grew and now it is a network of associations, foundations, and social businesses. Barka develops partnerships with local authorities and local businesses toward social inclusion and solidarity. More about Barka Foundation and Barka Network can be found at www.barka.org.pl .
The first homeless migrant support project of Barka started in 2007 when we were invited by the local government to come to London and help Polish rough sleepers who, after Poland’s accession to the EU, found themselves in a tragic situation as they were not well prepared to take up a life abroad. Similar projects were started in Copenhagen, Dublin, and Hamburg; then in 2011 Barka was invited to start a cooperation with The Netherlands (2011 Utrecht, 2013 The Hague, 2013 Rotterdam, 2014 Antwerp).
In 2016 Barka was invited by the local municipality of Reykjavik to come to Iceland and start working with the homeless migrants here. The project began on 5th of January 2017.
The mission of Barka IS is to provide excluded Central and Eastern European migrants with the opportunity for reconnection. We can support individuals within Barka Network projects in Poland to help them return to their families or support them in addressing their addiction and going into rehab. In our migrant support projects, we work in teams of two persons: a leader and an assistant. A leader is a person who has a personal experience of homelessness and addiction, that he combated and rehabilitated within Barka Network educational and community programs. The assistant is a person who can communicate in a foreign language, has a formal education (e.g a degree in social work, or psychology), and provides support to the leader. This method of work proved to be very effective in London, Dublin, Hamburg, and The Netherlands.