The GOCC ended its mission at the Humanitarian Point at the border
The GOCC Humanitarian Aid Point in Michałowo - after 85 days - ends its mission. During that time it provided support to dozens of activists working in the border area.
The aim of the GOCC Humanitarian Aid Point was to support the medics and the representatives of the NGOs helping people in need at the Polish-Belarusian border. The activists could re-store their supplies of consumables, personal hygiene products, food or clothing needed during their mission in the border area.
Carrying such humanitarian aid is every person's duty, and the situation that we - Poles, have to deal with, gave us a clear choice: to either offer the help or not. Let our heart, conscience, love and respect for another human being guide us. -Jurek Owsiak, the Chairman of the GOCC Foundation
The point was opened from the 8th of November till the 31st of January, and it was active 24/7 for the first two months. It was set up at the School Complex in Michalowo (ul. Sienkiewicza 5), less than 30 km from the Polish-Belarusian border, as the supply point for the activists and NGOs, but also as the place for exchanging experiences, planning actions, organising meetings and cooperation across different non-governmental organisations.
The Humanitarian Aid Point Staff for the two months were 125 Peace Patrol volunteers.
For the Peace Patrol volunteers to take action in the Humanitarian Aid Point in Michałowo was, frankly speaking, a completely new and unusual task. They just showed up there upon the call from Jurek Owsiak and they organised their shift work for two months. The result was, not only for us, surprisingly positive - everything they learnt in the GOCC Voluntary Service Centre combined with their experience gained during the Grand Finales and Pol'and'Rock Festivals let them effectively help the activists working in the border area. -Marcin Garczyński, Peace Patrol Coordinator, the GOCC Foundation
On the 8th of January, due to intensive preparations for the jubilee of the GOCC Grand Finale, one of the organisations of the Grupa Granica [Eng. Border Group], Salam Lab, took over the control of the Point. Under the Salam Lab, the Point was active till the end of Janurary.
I hope that in the consciousness of those who got the chance to use the Humanitarian Aid Point in Michałowo, this place will be remembered as much more than just a warehouse with tangible supplies. Because those 3 months of common action can be translated into dozens of meetings with heroic activists, way over one hundred fully engaged Peace Patrol and Salam Lab volunteers, and, what is probably most important, the relations - both personal and professional that we built between numerous organisations. The GOCC and Salam Lab's cooperation shows that looking for what unites us and not what divides us is worth the effort. At the end of the day, we were all brought to the Polish-Belarussian border by one thing, i.e. a refusal to agree to the suffering of another human being. -Radzimir Burzyński, Salam Lab
The Humanitarian Aid Point in Numbers
The Humanitarian Aid Point in Michałowo at the Polish-Belarusian border was open non-stop for 85 days. During that time the activists in the region received:
- over 17,000 food supplies
- over 40,000 medical items
- over 2,500 pieces of clothing (incl. shoes)
- over 1,500 pieces of camping/tourist gear and electronic devices (incl. mobile phones and power banks)
In total there were 237 interventions. Apart from the items purchased by the GOCC, the supplies offered in the Humanitarian Aid Point were provided by: OSP Michałowo [Eng. Voluntary Fire Brigade Michałowo] (mainly food products), PCK Białystok [Eng. Polish Red Cross Białystok] (mainly clothes, socks), Polska Misja Medyczna [Eng. Polish Medical Mission] (mainly shoes and clothes donated by the German organisation Humedica).
The supplies were mostly used by Ocalenie Foundation [Eng. Rescue Foundation], KIK [Eng. Club of Catholic Intelligentsia], Rats Agency, as well as bases in Białystok, Hajnówka, Bielsk Podlaski, Michałowo region, Teremiski and bases created by the locals and independent activists.
The GOCC involvement in fighting the crisis on the border also included the purchase of the equipment for medical interventions - 169 devices and consumables (i.a. chest drainage set, delivery set, surgical suture set, orthopaedic collar, and orthopaedic stretcher) used by Medycy na granicy [Eng. Medics on the border] and the Polish Centre for International Aid.
The GOCC Foundation pledged a total of PLN 557,428.72 for the activities taken at the border. The sum was spent on the purchase of medical equipment, on organising the work of and logistics related to the functioning of the Point. For the activities related to the crisis at the border, the GOCC Foundation used the funds raised thanks to taxpayers' donations through the 1% of their income tax.
The GOCC for the hospital in Hajnówka
Finally, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity also supported the Independent Public Health Care Centre in Hajnówka which admits immigrants from the Polish-Belarusian border.
The equipment is worth nearly PLN 480,000, incl. 8 pulse oximeters, 25 electric hospital beds with mattresses and bedside tables, 25 alternating pressure anti-bed sores mattresses, and 10 no-touch thermometers.
Other medical equipment to be delivered to the hospital are defibrillators, nebulisers, blood vessel locators, a CTG monitor, a fetal heart rate detector, wheelchairs, syringe pumps, a lift for lying patients, a bath chair, and a paediatric treatment table.