Learn from others
Through a small window on the door of the closed drop-in, the MONAR Association in Krakow provides not only sterile injection equipment and other harm reduction materials but also hot meals, protective masks, latex gloves and 100-ml containers with hand sanitizer.
The small window acts as multi-channel: we give out needles, syringes and other harm reduction materials, as well as hot drinks and meals. And above all, we talk with clients. On the deserted Krakowska Street, in the center of the usually sparkling Kazimierz neighborhood, we are one of the few active places.
Since we began to work in this new way, we also started providing new services to our customers: we distribute special sets consisting of a protective mask, a pair of latex gloves and a 100-ml container with hand sanitizer. And we provide a stack of information on how to protect oneself against coronavirus infection, how to recognize the infection and how to deal with it.
Secondary exchange operates at full speed. Previously, some of our clients supplied their friends with injection equipment received at the drop-in. Right now, almost all of them do. They also frequently return containers with contaminated equipment. We try to distribute as many needles and syringes as possible, so our clients don’t need to go around the city daily and expose themselves to infection. The current queues at pharmacies are another obstacle and make the work at the drop-in even more indispensable. For those who cannot visit us we’re able to arrange home delivery of injection equipment.
Daily we offer food to our clients, thanks to restaurants from our neighborhood Kazimierz, which currently sell take-away meals and give them to us for free. The meals are warmed up in a microwave before being handed out. Also, the cooperation with the Krakow section of Food Not Bombs is very beneficial.
What are our clients talking about? Usually they tell how they cope or try to cope with the new situation. From our side, we ask how we could help them. We do our upmost best to update them about the operating assistance infrastructure: where to spend the night, take a bath, do the laundry and so on. These conditions are rapidly and constantly changing. For some our drop-in is currently the only place where they can have a chat in the deserted city. Of all, homeless clients are in the most difficult situation. The cold days and nights are even a bigger challenge for them than usual. Being used to multiple places in the city center where they could go inside and warm up, even for a while, now they are out on the street. While most people do not move from their homes – they have nowhere to go.
This article was submitted by Grzegorz Wodowski of MONAR Association in Krakow, and was first uploaded to the HARM REDUCTION COVID-19 RESPONSE website of Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network. We thank Correlation for contacting Monar Association and making it possible to present their actions also on the Save Lives- Protect People platform.
Addres: ul. Krakowska 19, 31-062 Kraków
Trams no: 6, 8 i 13
Phone: +48 786 847 747