When Jacek Halicki first discovered the Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest through a banner located on top of the main page of the Polish Wikipedia, not only hadn’t he realized he could actually edit Wikipedia by himself; he could never have foreseen that contributing to Wikipedia would soon become a passion and a way to overcome the barriers in his life.
Hailing from Kłodzko in south-western Poland, a city referred to as the Little Prague due to its high number of culturally significant buildings, Jacek Halicki is a former photojournalist, amateur radio operator, jazz lover and perhaps most importantly to his story, a pensioner with severe mobility impairment.
When asked what made him stay with Wikipedia, he says that it is a natural consequence of the active life he lived before falling ill. “It is a great use of my free time to the benefit of others and also a way to prove to myself and others that illness does not mean idleness, apathy and depression,” he adds.
Halicki’s contributions to the Wikimedia movement certainly reflect this positive attitude. Since September 2012, he has uploaded more than 4,000 pictures to Wikimedia Commons; more than 100 of them have been assessed to be of quality image standard by his fellow Commons contributors, with an additional dozen or so being awarded featured picture status on the Polish Wikipedia.
A local patriot, Halicki expresses his fondness for the city of Kłodzko by creating new articles about its culture and monuments. He also improves existing articles about Kłodzko and illustrates them with the pictures he takes from his tricycle, a modified e-bike that he operates with an electric motor.