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Eurodiaconia, a European network of churches and Christian NGOs, and MP Sławomir Piechota received this year’s the Diaconia Poland “Good Samaritan” Award. An honorable mention was given to Zdzisław Olszak from the Lutheran Parish in Suwałki. It was presented during the ecumenical Gala Ubi Caritas, organised jointly with Caritas Poland and Eleos of the Orthodox Church.
Diaconia Poland has been awarding the “Good Samaritan” statuette in recognition of commitment to diaconal (charitable) work, help for the neighbour and the “Samaritan heart” since 2007. Awards are given to individuals or institutions to emphasize cooperation with Diaconia Poland, as well as with diocesan or parish diaconias. This year Diaconia Poland awarded two Main Prizes – Eurodiaconia and MP Sławomir Piechota were both honored.
Eurodiaconia is an international network of cooperation between churches and Christian non-governmental organizations. Through their activities in the field of social assistance and health care, Eurodiaconia members work for social justice and prevent marginalisation and social exclusion of different groups. Eurodiaconia curently has 54 members from 32 countries, including Diaconia Poland (since 2003). Eurodiaconia participates in various discussions at the European level, raising voice for current social challenges, and contributing to the ongoing debate using practical examples from members. “Diaconia Poland expresses its appreciation and gratitude to Eurodiaconia for an active care for vulnerable people by developing policy papers, influencing current social discussion in Europe and building space for an international cooperation” – President of Diaconia Poland, Bishop Ryszard Bogusz, and Director General Wanda Falk wrote in their laudatio.
The second Laureate, MP Sławomir Piechota, has been involved in activities supporting people in need for many years. He worked in the Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights in Poland; he was a plenipotentiary of the Wrocław voivode, responsible for people with disabilities; as a member of the city council he remained active at the local government level, where he later held the post of deputy mayor for social policy in Wrocław. During his term of office many changes were introduced to support people in need, including various aid initiatives, such as the Centre for Education and Rehabilitation of the Disabled, now operating as the Martin Luther Memorial Evangelical Centre for Diaconia and Education Foundation. As an MP, Sławomir Piechota has been actively involved – also as a chairman – in the Committees for Social Policy and Family and for Petitions. “By awarding the statuette of the Good Samaritan Diaconia Poland expresses its appreciation and gratitude for his active care for the neighbour in need by creating effective social policies and supporting relief organizations” – wrote Bishop Ryszard Bogusz and Director Wanda Falk in their laudatio.
Moreover, Diaconia Poland awarded an honorable mention to Zdzisław Olszak, involved in diaconal activities of the Lutheran Parish in Suwałki (northeastern part of Poland), as well as social initiatives of the city. He actively supports families, children and youth by diagnosing their needs and organizing financial and material help. Thanks to this service, children and youth have received school supplies and Christmas gifts, they had also the opportunity to travel to national and international meetings and camps.
Warsaw, 16th October 2021/Diaconia Poland
See also: “No one can be left behind” (interview with Chairperson of the Eurodiaconia Board rev. Olli Holmström about the importance of Eurodiaconia, its cooperation with member organizations, contribution to European social policy and current challenges)