Omenaa Mensah and Rafał Brzoska awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta – Business
In recognition of outstanding contributions to the development of the Polish economy, local patriotism and business achievements abroad, as well as social and charitable activities and spreading philanthropy among Polish business, the President, on behalf of the Republic of Poland, awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta to Rafał Brzoska.
Today, the President of the Republic of Poland honored Omena Mensah with the same distinction for her outstanding contributions to philanthropic and charitable activities, with particular emphasis on organizing the largest private humanitarian initiative “Convoy of Polish Hearts” for war-torn Ukraine and creating a center for refugee women and their children, the Rio Edu Center. This distinction is not only an appreciation of their many years of contribution to helping those most in need, developing education, and promoting the right ideas of tolerance and acceptance, but also a reward for supporting local entrepreneurship and promoting patriotism among Polish entrepreneurs.
– I feel surprised and grateful that this honorable distinction was awarded to us. As a woman with dark skin, I had to face various challenges in Poland from an early age, but thanks to my positive attitude and openness to the world, I never stopped believing in its positive change. I am known for my openness and quite liberal views, especially on issues of gender equality, tolerance, acceptance and diversity. I am even more pleased that the work of me and our teams from the foundation for those most in need has been appreciated. For me, this distinction is proof that helping can be carried out beyond all social, business, political and ideological divisions. Our beliefs don’t have to be a barrier to charity. The relationship with my husband is a perfect example that we may have different worldviews, but we have the same goals and we support each other in achieving them. Helping society is important. It unites, inspires and is not a reason to compete, says Omenaa Mensah, who has been helping street children in Ghana, residents of Polish orphanages and mothers and children with refugee experience for years.
– I am glad that our significant efforts in building Polish business and promoting it outside Poland, as well as our involvement in social assistance and support in Ukraine, have been appreciated and honored with such an important distinction. It is an expression of local patriotism. Both in business and in philanthropy, regardless of national or political differences, our goal is to bring good to society. This is not a matter of politics, but of morality and devotion. We don’t rest on our laurels. We intend to continue our efforts and appeal to others to join us to make the impact of aid even greater. And those who do not like our efforts and the way we help, please do not disturb us in our efforts to help others, says Rafał Brzoska.
Shortly after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Omenaa Mensah and Rafał Brzoska organized the Convoy of Polish Hearts consisting of 34 wagons, including nearly 1,000 pallets, half a thousand tons of food, medicines and other necessities – this is the largest privately funded transport of humanitarian aid for the civilian population in Ukraine. They also created a day support and education center, RiO Edu Centrum, where refugee women receive help in professional activation, and their children continue their education and receive psychological and therapeutic support. Mensah and Brzoska are also the initiators of the TOP CHARITY Great Charity Auction – a prestigious charity gala in Poland, for which they received the global Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2023 in the “The Best Event in Poland” category. Only during two editions, thanks to their initiative, a total of almost PLN 37 million was collected to support various projects in the field of health and education. The funds from the auction went, among others, to: for children and youth from orphanages in Poland, street children in Ghana and exceptionally talented Rafał Brzoska Foundation scholarship holders who come from poor rural areas and without financial support would not have a chance to educate at the best universities around the world.
Additionally, a married couple of philanthropists donated 30%. income from the Great Charity Auction for the Philanthropic Consortium – a new initiative that this year’s edition brought together as many as 24 foundations from all over Poland. Each of them received grants to implement beautiful and necessary aid projects.