For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people. Gallery

It was the sixth award ceremony for the Jan Calca. A unique gala during which social activists and non-governmental organizations are rewarded for their daily social activities. The contest’s sponsor, Jan Całka, died six years ago (such a combination of circumstances, because the sixth Gala and the sixth anniversary of his death).

He is an anti-communist opposition activist in the time of the People’s Republic of Poland, after 1989, the first chairman of the board of directors of the “Solidarity” region NSZZ of Opole Silesia, which in the time of the Free Poland instilled social solidarity in people and put itself into practice. A social activist, a defender of civil society, an authority, but above all, he was remembered as a good man.

– This is the sixth edition, but each time I feel great admiration and emotion towards people working in associations and foundations – said Dorota Piechowicz-Witoń, director of the Center for Civic Dialogue in Opole a minute before the start of the gala. – Each of the nominees has great merits and is unique, and it was a great difficulty for the jury and who to choose. These prizes for social activists are above all a living memory of Jan Calka. I am convinced that Mr. Jan is with us today, he will be on stage and then we will drink coffee.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  GalleryAlready from the stage, in almost all statements, both from President Arkadiusz Wiśniewski and from the organizers of the Gala, one could hear: social activists are “those who care about democracy and social solidarity”, “Without you, activists social, Opole does not exist. You are the salt of the earth. “

– It is thanks to you that democracy has a chance to develop, therefore I bow very low to you – President Arkadiusz Wiśniewski of Opole told social activists.

A total of 54 candidates were submitted for the award in the “Social Leader of the Year” and “Benefit of the Year” categories, from which the competition jury selected the honorees and winners. It was also a record edition, as there had never been so many nominees: 22 in the “Social Leader of 2021” category and 32 in the “Benefit of 2021” category.

– The choice was very difficult – says a member of the chapter, prof. Izabela Pisarek, vice-rector for student education and the entire educational cycle of the UO. – For a long time we have looked individually and collectively at individuals and associations. We really wanted to choose everyone because this community service was amazing and very important. And they all correspond to the ideas of Mr. Jan Całka.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  Gallery– It’s a happy choice, because each of these people deserves a special distinction, and the nomination for the Jana Calka is the confirmation of a positive action and each of these people does something really valuable by dedicating their time – adds Małgorzata Jarosz-Basztabin, member of the jury of many editions of the competition, head of the Information and Education Center for Seniors in Opole, operating at the Family Support Center. – The chapter itself faced this difficult task.

The leader of the year 2021 was Paweł Andrzejuk, for his voluntary activity for drug addicts and the fight against exclusion. Andrzejuk has been president of the To Man association in Opole since 2014, which works for drug addicts and their families. He took over from Mieczysław “Mika” Kwolek-Pawełczak, who died eight years ago, ushering the association into a new reality.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  GalleryPaweł founded support groups for drug addicts serving prison sentences, incl. in Strzelce Opolskie. It cooperates not only with prisons, but also with schools, courts and all institutions that help in this area. He is a professional in this field, he is constantly evolving, and at the same time he is an extremely empathetic person.

When Paweł Andrzejuk received the statuette, unable to hide his emotion, he asked the president who had given him the prize: – Can one of the streets bear the name of Miki Kwolek?

– I did not expect anyone to notice our activity – said Paweł Andrzejuk, touched after the Gala. – I didn’t expect a complete victory, but I feel appreciated. It’s important to us.

Among all the candidates, the jury rewarded Małgorzata Besz-Janicka, Sybilla Fusiarz, Fr. Wojciech Pracki and Krystyna Żarska. They were rewarded for their pro-social voluntary activities.

In the category Profit of the Year 2021, the prize was awarded for a task organized by the Polish Association of the Blind in Opole District of the 2nd Polish National Review – Song Review of Blind People. A special event which allows talented blind singers to make themselves known, and which also perpetuates the notoriety of the “Opole festival”.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  GalleryChapter members also singled out the following actions: “I live here. Awareness campaign”, carried out by the 2.8 Foundation, the “Nadzieja” Association helping the homeless, the poor and socially excluded, “Food Aid” from the Opole Food Bank, and for the overall achievement of Dr. Clown from the Opole region.

The sixth gala was honored by the presence of Zbigniew Bujak, legendary opposition activist from the time of the Polish People’s Republic and activist of the first “Solidarity”, who put his ideas into practice.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  GalleryKrzysztof “Puma” Piasecki’s band was responsible for the musical staging of the Gala. Singer Katarzyna “Puma” Piasecka fits the atmosphere of the whole Gala, her biography includes activities for people with disabilities.

After the Gala, we asked the opinion of its participants:

Zbigniew Bujak:

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  Gallery– In democratic countries, to remain democratic, active citizenship is an integral part of this system. There’s even the concept of constitutional activism in America, which has meant in recent years that it’s not like the Constitution says all people are born equal, that is, you have all your rights From birth. And no… You have a constitution, it’s a tool in the fight for rights, and if you want to have them, you have to fight for them. American women, black Americans and Indians got their rights based on the constitution. This is where the power and agency of the American constitution resides, it is this social chic that keeps us active as citizens forever. Inactive people submit to authoritarian power, becoming an object and not a subject. This is why I encourage my students to be active. And looking at the history of “Solidarity”, first of all, we won “free trade unions”. We have gained a task for ourselves – a space for civic activity.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  GalleryMariusz Pawlita and Joanna Zając from the association “Hope”helping the homeless, the poor and the excluded, distinguished in the category Benefit of the year 2021:

– We reach people who cannot access the help provided by institutions and organizations in Opole. To people no one wants to take care of anymore. And this is not limited to food, because the homeless, in addition to food, especially need conversation.

The members of the association search all the garden plots in winter, where the homeless can winter, they walk through old abandoned garages and buildings to be demolished, offering their help to those who have already been forgotten.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  GalleryArkadiusz Wiśniewski, Mayor of Opole:

– You can see it through the prism of quantity, because the sixth edition is mostly more people who applied. But the most important thing is that we keep the memory of Mr Jan Całka alive. In this way, we keep the memory of a good person who has done so much for the city, the development of citizenship and democracy. And this award mobilizes people to do good and do what Jan Całka did. We live in a time when this activity is essential, and democracy is not guaranteed forever, because there can always be someone who will raise their hand to democracy. Awareness of this situation encourages you to be active and to remember people like Jan Calka is a modern day determinant of how to behave.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  Gallery Prof. Wojciech Pracki, pastor of the evangelical parish of Augsburg in Opole, distinguished in the category “Leader of the year 2021”:

– It’s the first time in my life that I receive such a distinction, so it’s a new experience. On the other hand, I pay tribute to all the social activists who have been named and to all those who have not been named, because on the one hand it is a Christian testimony to those who profess Jesus, to follow him. And for those who do not profess Jesus, it is a testimony to humanity. It’s such a common denominator for us.

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  Gallery Sławomir Mielnik from the 2.8 Foundation (which, among other things, organizes the National Festival of Photography in Opole), awarded for the “Profit of the year 2021”:

– I wanted to show that people who are ethnically and culturally distant from us live next to us, so I photographed foreigners from all over the world. Their photos went into the public space to show that people from all over the world live next to us, they deal with interesting things and that’s what interested me the most, as a resident of Opole. When I photographed them all, I found they were so different and yet the same. Now I know that my neighbor is more different than those people at the end of the world. Believe me, they are not different at all, but have different skin color or are followers of other religions. It was a unique experience.

Richard Paron of the Association “It’s a Man”:

For the sixth time, an extraordinary patron sponsored extraordinary people.  Gallery– I knew the association from another side, that is to say from my own experience, from the cross addiction. For me and all other people, young and old, it is very important that the “To Man” association was rewarded by recognizing Paweł Andrzejuk by the competition jury as the “Leader of the year 2021”. Paweł presented the center with a new reality and professional help.

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