Wielka Orkiestra Swiatecznej Pomocy (The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity) is the biggest and most prosperous charity organization in Poland. Its objectives, included in the status document, are saving children's lives, health promotion and education in the field of preventive treatment. Between 1993 and 2006 The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity has collected and spent over $65 mln for saving lives. Besides humanitarian work, the Foundation is also a powerful medium spreading the ideology of kindness, friendship, tolerance, and openness.
In 1992, Jurek Owsiak, a well-established performer and the author of an avant-garde TV and radio shows, used his pop-culture status to help under-financed Pediatric Cardio Surgery Division in The Children Memorial Health Institute in Warsaw.
In his TV show, targeting very young and considered rebellious audiences, he said that cardio surgeons from The Children Memorial Health Institute can not perform surgeries on babies with inborn hearts defects due to the lack of funds for the medical equipment and they count on the financial support. Owsiak encouraged his audiences to join the forces and help. His idea was to combine rock'n'roll, fun, and charity. He believed in the great potential of the people getting together regardless of weather they have much or little money.
In March of 1992, Jerzy registered the Foundation The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. Jerzy Owsiak, Lidia Niedzwiedzka-Owsiak, Bohdan Maruszewski, and Piotr Burczynski have become the members.
On the first Sunday of 1993 he organized a nation-wide action. He invited Poles all around the country to set up concerts, creative happenings, and parties during which they could collect change that would be later on put on The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity account. It was The Great Finale.Thousands of people participated in the action. The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity collected over 1,5 mln of USD! The sum was spent for the highly modern and professional equipment for 10 Pediatric Cardio Surgery Divisions in Poland.
Even though, The Great Final Day was supposed to be a one-time event it turned to be such a smashing success that Jurek Owsiak and the doctors from Children Memorial Health Institute repeated the whole thing next year, and then year after that. Eventually, The Great Final Day became a tradition. The sum of collected money increases every year.
In ten years, the Foundation has completed 8 gigantic projects. It has bought the medical equipment needed on the numerous pediatric divisions specializing in: cardio-surgery, neonatal medicine, oncology, post-traumatic surgery, pediatric nephrology, diagnostics, newborns' surgery, and newborns & children under 5 years old divisions.
All together, over 10 thousands Pieces of the Most Modern Medical Equipment for Polish Public Hospitals was bought and distributed in public hospitals all around Poland. Among others, Foundation has bought: ambulances, incubators, physiologic monitors, oxygen blenders, infusion and drainage pumps, pulse oximeters, infant ventilators, new beds, anti-bed-sore mattresses, and many more.
The Connecticut Structure of WOSP
The Polish Club of CCSU decided to initiate the local WOSP on its own. We started in January of 2005. We have been doing it ever since. We organize collections in front of the Polish churches in Connecticut. We "walk up and down" on Broad Street in New Britain on Saturday preceding the Great Finale. We organize rock/blues concerts (bands do not get paid for that) during which the public contributes to our cause. We have collected over $35 thousand!!! This event is a major task for our coordinating crew as well as the volunteers. Beginning in 2007 we have decided to do it 3 ...this time we plan on doing it Saturday, Jan. 10th, Sunday, Jan. 11th as well as Saturday, Jan. 17th. Stay tuned for more updates on this webpage!