Janina Ochojska

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Janina Ochojska, Poland

"While Poland was under communist rule, Ms. Ochojska was an opposition activist in Torun, Poland where she helped form the Solidarity Trade Union in that city. In 1976, she was one of the signatories of a letter that protested against anti-democratic amendments to Poland's constitution. After undergoing serious surgery in 1984, Ms. Ochojska started to work as a volunteer for the French organization EquiLibre, which provided medical and food assistance to hospitals and centers for sick children in Poland. After she returned to Poland, Ms. Ochojska actively participated in coordinating foreign help to Poland's new democratic movement. She is the recipient of the Jan Karski Freedom Award for Valor and Compassion (2002) and the European Community awarded her the title of Woman of Europe in 1994. Since 1994, Ms. Ochojska has been the Chairperson of the foundation Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH), which provides humanitarian aid in Poland and around the world, helping victims of natural disaster and armed conflict in places such as the Balkans, Chechnya and Darfur, Sudan. PAH has also provided humanitarian assistance and conducted reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and Iraq, and organized assistance for the victims of the terrorist act in Beslan, Russia and for those affected by the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia." [1]

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  1. Background on Participants "champions of Freedom", White House, accessed August 24, 2007.