What better way to beat the midwinter blues than with a lavish ball, and if you can help disadvantaged kids into the bargain, all the better. This is the concept behind the Krakow Carnival Ball (Krakowski Bal Karnawałowy), a new highlight on the city’s social calendar being held for the first time this February 9.
“We’re holding the ball on the last Saturday of carnival – the last chance to have a party before Lent,” explains event organiser Gosia Dzik-Holden. “The plan is for it to become an annual event supporting the Janusz Korczak Waldorf Primary School & Gymnasium and the Teatr Ludowy Foundation,” says Gosia, whose children attend the Janusz Korczak School.
The link between an independent, fee-paying school and a charity that helps some of Krakow’s poorest kids is not immediately obvious, but the two have a lot in common. “About 25 percent of the students attending Janusz Korczak receive financial help from the Wena Foundation, the legal entity behind the school. It’s not just a place for rich kids,” says Gosia.
“The Teatr Ludowy Foundation is an incredibly important organisation that runs all kinds of activities for youngsters in the Nowa Hut area,” continues Gosia. It describes its goals as: “Confronting the problems of substance abuse and violence, teaching conflict resolution skills, responsibility, and social activity. We want to respond primarily to the needs of the local community in the fight against youth violence.”
In pursuit of these goals, the Teatr Ludowy Foundation funds several, ongoing programs including the unlikely sounding Flying Fish Club – a youth club offering creative activities, sport, friendship or just a place to hang out and do your homework. They are also involved with the Mobile School programme – a Belgian initiative that operates under the motto: “If a child cannot come to school, we will bring the school to the child.” A literal school-on-wheels brings learning and fun activities to kids hanging out on street corners for want of something better to do.
The Krakow Carnival Ball will be held at the Avangarda Restaurant (www.restauracjaavangarda.pl), which delights in the setting of the former Officer’s Club – a highly atmospheric survivor of 1920s Krakow that was once the residence of Józef Piłsudski. The night will feature live music from local musicians, an art auction, a prize draw with gifts donated by the ball’s sponsors and, of course, dancing until dawn. Tickets cost 300zł for a couple and the proceeds will be divided between the Wena Foundation and the Teatr Ludowy Foundation.
Find out more: Krakow Carnival Ball