Volunteer guide – where to find support?

Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the scale of volunteer support across Poland has surprised many. Already in March, Janina Ochojska, founder of Polish Humanitarian Action and MEP, when speaking in the halls of the European Parliament, stressed that Poland’s aid success, mobilization and aid dimension is owed to volunteers.

Psychological assistance

The organization Psychologowie dla Społeczeństwa provides free psychological support, including online support, to those involved in helping refugees.

Created at the Warsaw City Hall, the organization Ochotnicy Warszawscy (Warsaw Volunteers) and the Warsaw Volunteer Center are organizing a free series of supervision meetings for volunteer coordinators. Supervision is a process aimed at creating a brave and safe space where coordinators and volunteers can share their experiences, difficulties and analyse their work and how they find themselves in it. It’s a great opportunity to look at one’s own reactions, emotions and relationships, and learn how to perceive and resolve difficult situations appropriately.

A nationwide platform has been created to support volunteers, with a 24-hour chat and support phone for psychological and informational support. Assistance is available in Ukrainian, Polish and English.

Activist burnout

Activist burn-out is best described as apathy and unwillingness to act. Such a state can have many causes – ranging from a lack of psychological support, to the intensity of work conducted, to simply a lack of a sense of mission. An analogue to activist burnout is occupational burnout. When experiencing burnout, it is important not to force yourself to continue working, to take care of yourself and monitor your psychological well-being. In this situation, it is advisable to seek psychological help.

Burnout Aid provides free psychological consultations for volunteers. Enrolment is continuous, registration is required. Available online nationwide. You can also take advantage of a number of courses, including anti-burnout workshops.

Other forms of support

A suggestion from the Mapuj Pomoc crew: try Mindfulness, take advantage of free mindfulness sessions in English.

Activists can also take advantage of free massage sessions offered by the Ucieleśnienie Collective. As they put it themselves: “Our activities are aimed at activists of either gender in need of rest and regeneration, people involved in grassroots initiatives for social justice, unconditional support for all migrants, […]. We show solidarity through free massage sessions for activist women/men in need of regeneration and rest. For now only in the Warsaw area.” 

We also recommend following the activities of the Diversity Hub organization, which organizes a number of events aimed at volunteers.


Volunteering is a difficult job that helps others, but it is extremely complicated. There are many guides that will be able to assist you in the work of a volunteer. Let’s remember that the people coming from Ukraine who need our help come from different parts of the world, have different skin colors, speak different languages, belong to different religions, but one thing unites them – the scale and enormity of their experience and trauma!

Some support materials in Polish:


We encourage you to watch webinars organized and hosted by the Diversity Hub (also available in English):

How to counter volunteer burnout:

Psychological First Aid:

Learning about Ukrainian culture and customs: