Krysia, a girl Scout from Poland wins EU Solidarity Prize for domestic abuse campaign
On 15 February, Krysia, an 18-year old girl Scout from Poland, was awarded a European Civil Solidarity Prize by the EU's Economic and Civil Committee, for her domestic abuse campaign “Chamomiles and Pansies”.
This prize is a one-off award with the specific theme of "Civil society against COVID-19", which this year will be replacing its flagship annual Civil Society Prize.
Krysia is the deputy leader of her Guiding unit in Poland. She has always been interested in human rights, and aspires to become a lawyer one day in order to help people.
Campaigning has always been one of her passions and Scouting taught her the meaning of serving others:
“I cannot imagine that service could not be in my life. My whole life is service and it is Scouting that taught me this attitude." She said.
In 2020, Krysia created the “Chamomiles and Pansies” initiative, a plan to help persons at risk of domestic abuse. During the lockdown ,which was put into place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, women who suffer from domestic abuse are more at risk than ever, as they have no way to escape violent situations, or to reach out for help.
Chamomiles and Pansies provides a safe way for women at risk of domestic violence to seek help remotely. Krysia came up with the idea of creating a fictional shop on Facebook, and by “purchasing” items in the shop, at-risk individuals can be put into contact with professional support, including psychologists, lawyer and the police. It provides a way for people to reach out for help without raising suspicion and therefore increasing their risk.
“The "Chamomiles and Pansies" provides a way to signal either that you need help because you are in the situation of abuse, and in that case such a message is immediately forwarded to the police, or to signal that you need psychological support, in which case, trained volunteers co-operating with "Chamomiles and Pansies" are immediately mobilised to offer expert knowledge and online counseling support.”
Within the first few days of launching the initiative, Chamomiles and Pansies helped several dozen people, and has significantly grown since then. It is the first project of its kind available to people in Poland.
Due to the success of the project, and Krysia’s ongoing schoolwork and other responsibilities, she has now passed on management of the project to a civil society organisation.
The Civil Solidarity Prize honours creative and effective initiatives by individuals, civil society organisations and privately owned companies that have made an outstanding contribution to tackling the COVID-19 emergency and its grave and manifold consequences, thereby strengthening European solidarity and helping to create a European identity based on common EU values. The European Economic and Social Committee awarded 23 initiatives out of more than 250 applications.