Krystyna Paszko

We live in strange times; our society has profound problems that we choose not to address appropriately. This alone makes us a very, very strange community. We opt not to protect the most vulnerable ones.

Last week we looked into that outstanding Olympic swimmer who started her journey as a teen, belonging to one of the most vulnerable categories in the world, the refugees.

Not all vulnerable persons come from places of conflict. But, unfortunately, many of them start where they should feel safe: at home.

Cases of domestic violence have always been known and studied all over the world. In some places, cultural roots help understand economic problems in many other areas, and in other sites, it’s tough to find any explanations. However, little is being done to protect the victims. There is a long way to traverse to keep them safe.

This pandemic had an evident impact on our society, but it also carried other not-so-obvious consequences.

When the states enforced confinement, the victims were forced, in many, cases to be confined with their aggressors. So, naturally, this led them to be more exposed than ever.

In Poland, officially, the number of cases did not increase during the first months of lockdown. However, the Women's Rights Centre president, Urszula Nowakowska, states that the number of calls they received during the same period increased 50% versus 2019.

Enters Krystyna Paszko a scout girl from Poland.

“I can’t imagine my life without helping others. My whole life has been serving others. This scouting taught me this attitude.”

Being aware of this problem and the trouble the victims have to report such issues since the aggressors control them in many cases, Krystyna designed a clever mechanism to help victims of domestic violence.

The method found was a Facebook store page for cosmetics. But this store never made a buck. Instead of a repairing balm for the skin, when users ask about a product, they talk with a trained psychologist who will guide them with specific questions such as: "How long do you have skin problems?" In addition, orders made with an address indicate that the presence of the authorities is required.

Krystyna inspired herself in a French program where people go to the pharmacy and ask for a special mask. With this information, the pharmacist knows this is a person asking for help.

Using this as inspiration, Krystyna decided to sell cosmetics over Facebook, adapting the concept to the younger generations that live confined in their homes during this pandemic.

Since its launch in April 2020, the store has become a beacon of hope and led to the safety of over 350 people who went shopping at the Camomiles and Pansies.

10 % of the users are men, and most of the clientele is women under 40.

The ONG Women’s Rights Center lent Krystyna all the legal and logistical support to make this project a reality.

This allowed the high school finalist to implement this life-saving initiative. As a result, the whole project got proposed and won the EU’s Civil Solidarity Prize, a one-off contest to reward the role of civil society in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Problems are as old as time. Yet, we are fighting to become a better society, even if it is a high-schooler, a scout girl like Krystyna Paszko that leads the way and proves that civil society can play a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable.

How to be part: Each time you purchase a Life Rebel Mask, you can choose a Rebel to support. For example, if you decide on Krystyna, from your purchase, 2€ will be donated to the Women's Rights Center.

Make your purchase count.