Fashion Show in Rzeszow empowers refugee women   

© IOM 2023/Alexey SHIVRIN

Rzeszow - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is part of a unique fashion show featuring migrants displaced from Ukraine, posing as models and engaged in artistic activities in Rzeszow today (19/08).   

The Language School Germanitas, Ekos foundation, City of Rzeszów and renowned fashion designer Barbara Olearka are behind this initiative. The event aims to promote integration and social inclusion among people who have fled the war in Ukraine and host communities in the Southeast of the country.  

Rzeszów is located 100 kilometers from Ukraine and has been receiving migrants since the onset of the war in March 2022. IOM provides language courses, job counselling, psychological help and integration activities in the integration centre in Rzeszów. Among the 300 students at the local school, 60 of them are from Ukraine and receive support from IOM through the provision of laptops and other educational equipment.   

Barbara Olearka, the director of the school and a famous fashion designer in Podkarpacie region came up with the idea of the fashion show. So far she has organized such shows in Berlin, Paris and Dubai promoting the traditional attires of Poland.   

© IOM 2023/Alexey SHIVRIN
© IOM 2023/Alexey SHIVRIN

“Through IOM’s great support and cooperation I was inspired to combine our forces with other like-minded organisations and put up a fashion show with beneficiaries from the integration centre,” says Barbara Olearka.   

During this open event participants have the opportunity to watch a fashion show of Basia's works, based on traditional wear from Rzeszów and inspired by the cornflower motif. Besides, there is a screening of a movie, embroidery workshops, lectures and dance show open to all guests. All participating models, hairdressers and make-up artists are beneficiaries at the integration center.   

“For successful integration and cohesion, we need to ensure the inclusion of migrants, refugees, and repatriates, as well as the local communities they join. Such events bring migrants to the forefront and give them agency in their new homes,” said IOM Poland Chief of Mission Lívia Styp-Rekowska.  

“Today we celebrate the inclusion, participation and empowerment of migrants through fashion and arts,” said the Honorary Consul of Germany in Rzeszow Agnieszka Buk.  

© IOM 2023/Alexey SHIVRIN
© IOM 2023/Alexey SHIVRIN

Since 2022 IOM Poland has expanded its programmes on integration and social inclusion through its seven integration centres in Warszawa, Rzeszow, Krakow, Wroclaw, Wałbrzych, Piaseczno, Gdańsk.  

IOM provides a range of services to migrants, refugees, the host community, institutions and employers to assist their access to the labour market and to strengthen integration. The event is supported by the U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the German Federal Foreign Office.  


For more information, please contact:  

Ewelina Kawczynska, Public Information Coordinator at IOM Poland, at or +48 789739664.  

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