In Belarusian, the word “mirnyj” means peaceful. And it’s fitting that Mirnyj Dom (“Peaceful Home”) is the name of the only hostel in Poland for political refugees from Belarus, offering free accommodation and support to Belarusians who have fled their country.
In 2021, around 2,300 Belarusians applied for asylum, and 30,400 people applied for a residence permit in Poland. Since the hostel opened in May 2021, 95 people have found temporary shelter in it, and another 400 have received financial support from the Humanosh Foundation, which runs the hostel.
NewsSpectrum fellow and Belarusian freelance journalist Julia Szablowska interviewed residents of Mirnyj Dom and worked closely with Poland’s Pismo magazine and volunteers from “Partyzantki” association to produce a long-form article on the hostel and its significance.
She also managed to get the children from this sheltered involved and engaged, handing them single-use film cameras and encouraging them to capture everyday life in Mirnyj Dom (with the photos published in the print edition of Pismo).
The editorial team at Pismo helped with editing in the final phase of the story, helping Julia refine her writing in her second language. This was the first-ever text that Julia published in Polish and the first in a few years that was printed in a magazine.