Janusz Korczak Award, a unique distinction awarded to institutions and individual people who change the face of education and care for children and young people’s rights is organized by Uczelnia Korczaka – Akademia Nauk Stosowanych.
The objective of the Award is to promote Janusz Korczak’s ideas and support changes in education through popularization of institutions and individual people guided by Korczak’s ideas, who implement them and create new, brave educational solutions, as well as consistently support and protect children’s subjectivity and rights, support children and families in difficult situations, or create environments friendly to happy childhood.
The Award Committee selects winners in three categories, that is: an organization or institution guided by Korczak’s ideas; a local leader implementing Korczak’s ideas in practice; a public person acting for the benefit of children and young people.
The “Equal Opportunities” program won the award in the “Organization or institution” category.
The Award Committee decided to grant 15 awards and 12 distinctions this year.
“That is the award with which we appreciate great educational initiatives that bear on Korczak’s spirit, reward institutions and local leaders, integrate and enhance Korczak’s ideas and environments,” the Award Committee Chairperson Prof. Barbara Smolińska-Theiss says.
“We think that young people should be trusted, that we should believe in young people. The award is a great honor for our community for which the “Equal Opportunities” program defines the way of thinking about young people, the world, the role of adults in preparing a young person to be an adult,” Paweł Walecki says.
Launched in 2001 by Polish-American Freedom Foundation, the Equal Opportunities program supports social initiatives aimed at evening out the opportunities for a good start to adult life for rural and small-town children and youth by increasing their competencies and developing their social skills, such as teamwork, winning the support necessary to accomplish set goals, and planning actions to achieve them.
As part of the program non-governmental organizations, cultural centers, libraries, and informal groups apply for grants for projects that stimulate the aspirations of children and young people, are conducive to the fulfilment of the realistic goals they set on their own, help cope with emotions, develop active attitudes and openness, and encourage acting for the benefit of their own communities. The projects give young people the opportunity to participate in classes extending beyond the standard educational offer of their schools.
In the 22 years of the program, more than 3,500 projects with 151,000 participants were carried out (indirectly: nearly 495,000 people were involved). The program also contributed to the activation and integration of local communities to act for the benefit of children and youth.
The program is managed by the Civis Polonus Foundation. Over the years 2001-2020 the Program Manager was the Polish Children and Youth Foundation.