The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity plays worldwide 

The Polish charity takes its initiative worldwide and "plays" for children around the globe. With the support of 120 000 volunteers and countless benefactors around the world, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity looks to raise money to cover the costs of purchase of equipment for paediatric specialist wards. 

The phenomenon, which began nearly 30 years ago in Poland as a one-time initiative to finance the purchase of only one medical device. However, the initiative had a massive impact on Polish society - people were eager to donate in support of children's medicine. Since then, the charity has raised an astounding sum of almost 1 000 000 000 PLN and financed the purchase of almost 6 000 devices. What is more, the charity has launched and finances medical initiatives which aim to transform Polish medicine and an educational initiative, which brings free CPR lessons to primary schools in Poland. 

The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity has become synonymous with social activism and voluntary service, showing the nascent democratic society in Poland that social involvement can bring a tangible improvement into different spheres of life. 

Volunteers fundraising on the streets of Warsaw. Photos by D. Malik, M. Złotowski, E. Kurycka, S. Wadas, M. Michon 

One of the elements which set the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity apart from other non-governmental initiatives is the fact that it bases its activities on grass-roots, local initiatives. That might be one of the reasons why local hubs of activity - Collection Centres - hold their own charitable collections across the world. 1700 Collection Centres are located across the world - in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Russia, across Europe, in the US and in Canada. Apart from raising money for paediatric hospitals and supporting medical care back home, these Collection Centres promote Polish culture in  local communities, which can discover Polish music and Polish cuisine.

This year the objective of the charity is to buy sophisticated equipment for specialist children's hospitals. It is often the case that the public medical facilities cannot afford to purchase expensive pieces of equipment. Among these wards are units treating cancer patients.  As of Sunday afternoon, the counter on the website of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation shows that the collection has surpassed the mark of 21 000 000 PLN (4 888 800 EUR). The preliminary report of the collection will be published at midnight - it will take into the account money raised through digital channels as well as estimated amounts of money raised by Collection Centres. The final amount will be announced in March.