Early January and WOŚP are now synonymous. It’s been playing its part for longer than some of you have been around. But experience and efficiency do not automatically make it everyone’s favourite. So is Jurek Owsiak’s project a firm, valuable item in Polish public life or is it mainly hype and advertising, with undeserved bias from the elite?
Those who remain big fans say WOŚP makes people better. Before its arrival, Poles – especially younger generations – did not understand charity and did not believe in effective public action towards a common goal. Government – here or in any country under transformation – would never get money to afford meeting all urgent needs. Especially in medicine: if you want good health service, you often need the most modern drugs and equipment.
All areas of public health – from heart diseases to diabetes, and from premature births to victims of road accidents – stand much better now, thanks to Orkiestra.
But critics are not less eloquent today.
First of all they don’t like the incidental, one-off nature of WOŚP. “Is that what we want to teach the kids?” – they ask. “Go around with a money box, with a lot of noise, and then forget all about it for the rest of the year?”
Then – they hate the noise it gathers, at the expense of everything else. “Why should the media – they say – give so much praise and attention to something that happens once a year. Other charities work all the year round and are not less, maybe more successful”.
Finally, there is the money spent by authorities to keep the whole project smooth and safe. Some people point out to huge costs of some WOŚP events that are paid by local government or the police. Stricter security measures, special alert from institutions that protect the safety of music concerts and auctions – just because this is the Orchestra? Unfair. Or at least rather expensive.
And which is your side of the fence?