Our “IT-GIRL” who created MOMMAS coffee. Letter from Poland

MOMMAS coffee is a baby of Kasia Szajda, a trainer and non formal education activist from Poland. Her whole professional life is dedicated to educational projects concerning youngsters, adults and now – parents. She worked for University of Wrocław, created non profit organisation UNESCO Initiatives Centre, collaborated with Polish and Czech National Agencies responsible in countries for all European youth projects. Finally she came back to Poland permanently to raise her son. We invite you to read a letter from her below, where she explains how enriching is to giving birth not only to children but also to ideas. 

I remember myself being 17, surrounded by people in my age from 14 different countries, realising how interesting it is to discover diversity and how much do we all have in common.

I remember coming back home and being fascinated that now when I hear Spain, France or Palestine on TV its not just country on the map, which I know from geography classes, but as well a friend, having similar dreams, facing similar challenges. It was 97 so all those international opportunities available nowadays were not so common yet.

Fascinated with this intercultural environment I came back home with tough that I want to be part of it again. And I did, I won European writing competition once again (among others about European Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy.) And than, being 18, I knew as well it cannot repeat each year. and I have to take things in my hands. The same year I contacted Stefania Wilkiel from Ministry of Education, who organised such meetings in Poland and next year I helped her to organise meeting in Warsaw.

One year later the same Ministry send me to UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris, where this time surrounded by people from over 130 countries, I discovered the concept of UNESCO Centres existing in many places on all continents, but not yet in Poland. Two years later, in the same meeting I met another amazing person (while brushing theets in the bathroom of Polish Embassy in Paris) Krystyna Urbańska from Polish Commission for UNECO, with whom I started to talk about amazing opportunity of creating UNESCO Centre in Poland. She was the one that supported me in this idea and thanks to her UNESCO Centre was officially established in 2004, with beautiful office in main building of University of Wrocław.

UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris, 2008 with Piotrek Dobrosz

What were the main reasons behind? To help schools to be more „up to date” with fast changing world (by introducing topics like global education, participative learning methods), and to create opportunities for meeting people from different cultures, which I had, to others.

Project Youth Opens the Space, 2009 Wrocław

Together with students of different faculties we started to develop intercultural projects. Some of UNESCO team members are with us since the very beginning Piotrek Dobrosz, Dorota Dobkowska, Damian Drużkowski, some join within first years Kamila Wierzbicka, Magda Taraszkiewicz.

I called UNESCO Centre „my baby”.

We created one UNESCO family.

We organised projects for pupils, teachers, students, seniors.

And one day it happened, that nearly the same day 2 of us became mums.

Not a long time after idea of this project was born.

Project Grand Treasures, 2011 Dobków, Poland
Project Grand Treasures, 2012 Sikinos, Greece

Parenting is never-ending learning process both for child and for us – mums, dads. MOMMAS coffee helps us to discover diversity and similarities for parenting in different cultures.

My son just turned 2 years old, and both Stefania and Krystyna were celebrating with us this beautiful day. In some way without two of them this project as well would not happen (and my life would probably look completely differently). I will always be grateful for inspiration they brought into my life. I hope I will manage to share it with other people.

Author: Kasia Szajda