6 February 2017

Power Speech

The idea behind the project is to carry out the largest global aid campaign according to the model, which has been tested in the last two years and has been implemented in Poland twice. A means to draw the attention of the media and donors to the specific problem is unusual skydiving. Projects of this type proved to be very effective.

In 2017 I jumped 48 times in one day, dedicating each jump to a seriously ill person (an individual suffering from a brain tumor, a chronic disability, etc.). The campaign was, in fact, 48 aid campaigns, one for each person I sought to help by encouraging people to pledge/donate to those in need (I raised more than $50k then).

Year later, I jumped 100 times in one day for the purpose of collecting money ($150k) for 100 specialized wheelchairs for children in need of them, whose daily lives the wheelchairs could help improve. I carried out the project myself, without enlisting a promotional agency, and I drew upon my own financial resources to realize my vision.

THE GOAL

Modular houses/shelters, kindergartens, schools, boarding schools and family family-type children’s homes

The aim of the project is to help children, who are victims of climate change, all over the world. The collected funds will be used to build modular houses equipped with air conditioning, air purifiers and photovoltaic batteries. The houses will be built using 80% recycled materials, i.e., abandoned old sea containers and plastic waste. Modularity means that houses, similarly to Lego blocks, can be combined to form a small flat for a few people or a school in a refugee camp.

The houses are designed as zero-energy, as they will be powered exclusively by renewable energy sources, with water-saving fittings and local soil treatment plants or composting toilets. It will be possible to dismantle and transport on-site housing units to another location in the event of further disasters

LONG-TERM OBJECTIVE OF THE PROJECT

The long-term objective is to organize a system of assistance in the area of infrastructure, in the form of housing modules, which will be installed in places with the largest concentrations of climate refugees and in disasters-stricken areas. The housing modules, can be used to build single small houses, kindergartens, schools, and even boarding schools or family-type children’s homes. I would like the building of the infrastructure base to be accompanied, at all stages, by the transfer of knowledge concerning not only the operation of modules, the assembly of buildings and their utilization, but also educational programmes which are to provide essential knowledge about living in a zero-emission closed-system economy.

BENEFICIARIES

Climate refugees including, in particular, children who have been orphaned and became homeless as a result of cataclysms caused by climate change resulting from human activity.

BENEFITS FOR PROGRAMME BENEFICIARIES

  • reversing homelessness,
  • providing security– satisfying one of the basic human needs,
  • ensuring safe education in an ecologically clean environment, which, as a result, will foster understanding of the need to care for the planet’s resources,
  • providing practical knowledge of the use and effectiveness of renewable energy sources,
  • the ability to move your home/village from a danger area to a safer place.

SOCIAL BENEFITS

  • improving knowledge on climate risks arising from human activities,
  • engaging entire communities in charitable activities for people who are victims of climate change,
  • building a respectful attitude towards the weaker while understanding the need for reliance and coexistence,
  • raising awareness of the fact that very well-developed countries have the greatest influence on the deterioration of the fate of the poorest parts of the world,
  • inspiring others to create new similar aid campaigns.

 

MAIN STEPS

The Nobel Peace Price winner Lech Wałęsa has already joined my project and became the Patron of it.

The climax of the project will be the highest parachute jump in history made by Tomasz Kozłowski.

This jump is to attract the attention of international media, corporations, philanthropists, and people who believe in the idea of solidarity with those who, today, are suffering the direct consequences of our destructive actions.

Felix Baumgartner’s 39 km jump, which has been followed by the whole world, has shown that such an event can raise huge sums of money (in this case, gained mainly through the sale of television rights to the event), but this time the money will be used to help the poorest people, and not to contribute to the budget of a huge global company. Two years after Baumgartner’s jump, the then deputy head of Google, Alan Eustace, flew 41 km without any publicity. The aim of the project is to combine both these jumps, i.e., using the safe technology used by Alan Eustace and the financial effectiveness of Felix Baumgartner, Red Bull.

THE JUMP

The skydive from an altitude of 45 km will be executed by lifting the jumper up in a helium balloon. The operation will be carried out by a total of 120 people and more than 20 subcontractors involved in the operation specializing in specific fields related to ensuring safety in extreme conditions, communication, TV transmission, parachute system, rescue from the air, etc. The construction of the suit will start at the beginning of 2020 and will take about a year. The first half of 2021 will be devoted to specialized training to prepare for the main jump, which is scheduled for May 2021.

 

THE BEST ARCHITECTURAL SOLUTIONS COMPETITION

One of the most important elements connected with the functionality of the houses is the best possible furnishing of their interiors in a useful and economical way. It is important to use as much plastic waste, which will be obtained in the regions where the containers will be produced and stored, as possible. This must be designed and tested by architects and specialists of the highest class. To this end, a global competition will be held for university students, inventors and designers. Thanks to this competition, the best, optimal solutions will be selected. This operation will be carried out by the Association of Polish Architects SARS in cooperation with the International Union of Architects of the UIA and the Council of European Architects of the ACE.

 

THE STRONGEST MOTIVATION
How I managed to jump 100 times in one day and why I will jump for children from a height of 45 km

 

“Little Marta 24.”

It was June 21, 2017, the day of Project 48, my charity campaign during which I would perform forty-eight parachute jumps in one day. Each jump was dedicated to a gravely ill individual, with the money I was able to raise going to their treatment. Marta was four years old. She was afflicted with an inoperable brain stem tumor, which she and her loved ones had been fighting together with all their heart and strength.

Jump #24 was for Marta.

She visited me in the drop zone between jumps. We talked during a break, sitting alone together on the resting plane. In a very serious voice she advised me to eat only dark chocolate because the other kind is unhealthy. My meeting with Marta, unique from any other interaction I’d had with a child, was special. I felt somehow insecure with Marta, as if I were in the presence of a world-renowned authority on so many subjects, and not only chocolate. Marta, even at just four years of age, inspired great respect.

*

Nearly a year later, on the evening of April 16, 2017, I wrote to Marta’s mother, Justyna, on Messenger, saying my wife and I would like to visit Justyna and family, to see Marta, sit, talk, for the adults a glass of wine.

“You won’t make it,” Justyna wrote back. “She’s leaving.”

“What do you mean?” I replied, going numb.

“Marta is leaving now. In the next few hours. The doctor is here, everyone. You won’t make it.”

“We’ll come in the morning,” I wrote anyway.

At eight the next morning I texted Justyna again. I just wanted to feel I was with them.

“We don’t know what is happening,” Justyna updated me, “but she is still with us.”

“Okay, we’re getting ready. As soon as we have Ania packed, we’re on our way.”

“It’s too late. It’s happening now.”

We had more than 200 miles of driving ahead of us. My wife, Paulina, was doing her best to prepare our infant daughter, Ania, for the trip. Traveling with an eighteen-month-old who is definitely not a fan of car travel is no simple undertaking. Everything has to be planned to the last detail: the pit stops, the feedings, the drive synchronized with sleeping patterns to maximize the overlap of driving and naps.

 

I knew all this, but still, “Hurry up, please,” I impatiently urged Paulina.

“She’ll wait for you, you’ll see,” Paulina replied with calm certitude. “You will make it.”

But I wasn’t so sure. “We’re going. Now! Please!” I snapped, though I had never done so before.

Once we were on our way, I kept checking Messenger to see if Justyna had received my message. I had written that we would be there in three to four hours. A gray icon indicated that the message was still unread. I was scared. I felt fear in the form of a persistent stabbing sensation in my stomach, like a feeling of acute hunger. The road stretched toward infinity.

At last, at 3:40 p.m., I entered a small room. I saw a frail little creature in the cocooned embrace of her parents’ love and concern. I leaned close to her, kissed her cheek, and whispered into her ear.

“Good morning, little dear. It’s me, Uncle Tomek. I came to promise you that I will always look after little children, just like you.”

Marta took a deep breath, as if in response, as if accepting my promise.

“It’s your Flying Uncle,” whispered Justyna. “Remember, when you become an angel, you must keep an eye on him when he jumps with a parachute.”

 

One hour later, Marta left us.

Then came the tears. A torrent of tears, a surge of sadness, piercing pain, and a sense of irreversible loss. But it was also a time to organize what needed to be organized. The plane going up and hundreds of beautiful balloons being released into the sky. Then the most difficult speech I’ve ever given. A few words at her funeral…

I remember that at the end of the handful of sentences I could bring myself to utter, my already quavering voice gave out. I couldn’t prepare for this little speech, couldn’t find the words to say until I was standing in front of this heartbroken family. Then, as with difficulty I spoke out loud words which came from I don’t know where, I understood something of great importance.

No one will ever be able to understand such a small child being taken. No one, regardless of their faith, will ever accept the gods or any universal force assigning such a fate to one so small; will ever accept the placement of a dead end on a child’s path of destiny. No one will ever come to terms with such a loss, suffered within a nightmare that cannot be woken up from.

But I understood the meaning of this Little One’s life. The monstrous disease that attacked Marta, and the unceasing team effort to help her, brought together several, then dozens, then several hundred, and ultimately tens of thousands of individuals who in so many ways, large and small, sought to support Marta and her parents. Spiderman was there, and Batman, too. There was a trip to the planetarium. And teddy bears, and dolls and toys, and thousands and thousands of get-well cards. There were words of affection, warm gestures, friendship, and support. There was concern, but also smiles and jokes and giggles. There were visits, fun and laughter, then quiet time and cuddles. It was the most wonderful childhood you could imagine.

Little Marta, in her all-too-short life, inspired people to make themselves better, to think about and help others, to remember to look after one another. Little Marta simply made the world a better place. We must not overlook this. Even in the suffering this little girl endured, there is a deeper meaning for us to find.

When, on Friday, after four hours of driving in silence, we returned home, I looked for a long time at a drawing Marta had made for me.

“I told you she would wait for you,” said Paulina softly.