INTEGRACJA (THE INTEGRATION) consists of two non-profit organizations: Stowarzyszenie Przyjaciół Integracji (the Friends of Integration Association) and Fundacja Integracja (the Integration Foundation). Their activities begun 20 years ago on publishing a modest, printed magazine called „Integracja”. Because of the longstanding experience, professional staff and high brand awareness among other non-governmental organizations concerned with disabled citizens INTEGRACJA is now one of the biggest non-profit organizations in Poland.
Piotr Pawłowski (1966-2018) was the founder and long-term president of INTEGRACJA.
I decided to create INTEGRACJA when I saw how many people could not manage with their disability and find a place for themselves in their own lifes. The same happened to me when I realized that I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. It is my goal to support disabled people’s participation in a social life to the greatest possible extent. On the other hand, I saw that people without disabilities do not fully understand how citizens with different disabilities function in a society. This is why I started to act.
Since 2018, Ewa Pawłowska, the former long-time Board’s member of the Friends of Integration Association, has been the president of INTEGRACJA. She graduated from the Faculty of Nursing at the Medical Academy in Lublin. For 26 years she worked as a specialist midwife at the Saint Zofia Hospital in Warsaw, also dealing with patients with various disabilities. During this time, she participated in the work related to the adaptation of this medical facility not only in terms of architectural accessibility, but also paying attention to the individual approach to patients with special needs. Since 1999 as the wife of Piotr Pawłowski she has learned about barriers that people with disabilities face in everyday life also as patients of health care institutions in Poland
What we do
INTEGRACJA is a member of the Coalition for People with Disabilities, the Broad Alliance for Digital Skills, the British Polish Chamber of Commerce, the Partnership for Road Safety Association as well as the Workability Europe and the Rehabilitation International. Our representatives belong to the Social Consultation Board at the Government Plenipotentiary for Disabled People, the Social Consultation Board at the President of Warsaw, the Disability Team in the Ombudsman’s Office, the Disability Team in the Ombudsman’s for Children Office, the “Your Vote, Your Choice” Coalition and many others. We collaborate with a British organization called the Shaw Trust which is one of the largest third sector providers of employment services for people with a disability or at disadvantage in the UK.
INTEGRACJA has supported empowerment and activation of Polish disabled people for last 20 years. We have become the leaders in solving problems of this social group. Our main goal is to increase social activity of people with various disabilities by eliminating barriers which hamper their everyday life. We act for equal opportunities and rise of public awareness of the disability in Poland.
We help in job seeking
We believe that disabled people are fully valuable employees and employment of them may bring plenty of benefits for the employers. In 2003, we established the first Centrum Integracja (Integration Center) specialized in vocational activation of the disabled. Since then we have created a network of five centers in the whole country. They are situated in Warsaw, Cracow, Gdynia, Katowice and Zielona Góra.
The centers are employment agencies which conduct workshops and trainings to improve skills of the employees and provide career consulting. In order to broaden the scope of our activities and facilitate contact with us for people from all over the country we launched a special helpline in 2007. This is the only such a service in Poland and the fastest way to contact with a proper specialist. In 2013, we launched a website sprawniwpracy.pl. It enables a contact between job seekers with different disabilities and their possible employers. Over 60 of them and more than 1100 candidates have registered in our database.
Fighting for the world without barriers
For last 20 years we have been combating with every type of barriers against disabled people. Nowadays we are an expert in architectural, social and web-based accessibility. Within the scope of architecture we are concerned in creating friendly public spaces for every disabled person and help about adjusting buildings and means of transport. Our mission is also to teach a sensibility and provide training how to serve a customer with a disability. It is connected with combating website limitations for disabled and introducing WCAG 2.0 solutions too. We had been working with plenty of institutions for adapting their buildings into a condition which is accteptable for people with different disabilities.
Our activities were helpful for plenty of institutions in process of adapting their buildings into a condition which is acceptable for people with different disabilities like Polish parliament. We had been supporting also goverment’s websites for being more available for everyone, including The Chancellery of the Prime Minister’s website.
INTEGRACJA is also the publisher dedicated especially to the disabled. Since 1994 we have been publishing a free printed magazine (current circulation is around 30 000 copies), a multitude of special guides and have released more than 550 episodes of our television program. Our information service called Niepelnosprawni.pl is visited by more than 200 000 users monthly. Apart from that we maintain some educational websites to realize our mission.Sprawniwpracy.com is an internet portal which enables building better and more indirect relations between the disabled job seekers and employers. Finansebezbarier.pl offers helpful articles and exercises how to maintain a household budget. Dostepnestrony.pl was created to teach the web content accessibility. Kartaparkingowa.pl gives some information about using of priviliges dedicated for the disabled drivers.
Supporting social inclusion of the disabled
INTEGRACJA takes part in different meetings and conferences but also organizes its own events to promote empowerment of the disabled. Wielka Gala Integracji (the Great Gala of Integration) organized by us is the biggest such event in Poland which summarizes our annual activities. It has also a cultural dimension because of the famous and celebrated artists, journalists, politicians and representatives of the companies concerned about people with disabilities who take part in it.
During the Gala we award the Medal Przyjaciel Integracji (the Friend of the Integration Medal) for individuals and companies who support our environment not because of their duties but due to their willingness in helping us. We also reward the disabled whom social activity, commitment and attitude have became the examples of breaking barriers in everyday life and give inspiration to the others. Such individuals are rewarded with the title of “Człowiek bez barier” (“Person without barriers”).
Our efforts for changing the public opinion’s attitude towards the disabled are visible in campaigns like “Do you really want to be in our shoes?” addressed to the drivers who illegally use marked parking spaces for the disabled users, “Shallow imagination means disability” which warns people against jumping recklessly into the water or “Able at work” which supports changing the image of the disabled employees. Our campaigns were prepared in a cooperation with the biggest international advertisement agencies like Leo Burnett or Upstairs Young & Rubicam and have gained a significant appreciation and some prestigious prizes like Golden World Awards or EFFIE.
This is only a part of our actions. All of them are guided by our motto “There is much more things that unite us than divide us”.
For many years INTEGRACJA has assisted companies and organizations in adjusting their services to the needs of the disabled citizens. We are looking forward to cooperate with you in the areas of architectural accessibility, launching and maintaining the disabled-friendly websites, customer service, recruitment and employment of the disabled employees.
Do you want to get more information about us or help in our activities? Let’s contact!
ul. Andersa 13
00-159 Warszawa, Poland
tel.: +48 22 530 65 70