Volunteering is a wonderful idea. Improving another human being’s quality of life – many times that of a stranger – without any gain is a grateful service. But we need more, a lot more.
Volunteer work has many nuances and there are plenty of important questions we need to answer before we get involved in someone else’s life: What is our mission? How can we engage? In what form? What ideas do we have? What are the expectations?
These are especially true when one decides to volunteer in a children’s home. When you arrive at one of these facilities, perhaps you don’t really understand or see why things happen the way they do.
The education of the children is a long and difficult process, but they have an ordinary life inside the home. When we visit them, we disrupt this routine, we try to make a difference even in the smallest possible ways. Our enthusiasm and care may influence them; their eyes can light up for a moment.
Since 1968, the Lajos Kossuth Children’s Home and Primary School has looked after and educated children who need special care because of their psychological and sometimes physical disabilities. The institution functions as a primary school where children are guaranteed reduced class size, constant supervision and monitoring of their mental and physical state, offered physiotherapy, individual treatment if needed and a chance to develop at their own pace.
On April 14, under the pleasantly warm rays of the sun, a couple dozen enthusiastic volunteers prepared for a day at the Lajos Kossuth Children’s Home located in Budapest’s District XI.
However, they had no idea what was waiting for them. Broken doors, shattered windows, damaged furniture, signs of escape attempts, litter everywhere… the main entrance of the home was in a depressing state, promising nothing more than a harsh lesson about the life of children in these homes and the work cut out for the social workers.
The staff put a lot of heart and soul into the efforts to make the institution feel like a home, but there is only so much these devoted people can do. The situation seemed almost hopeless, but we came here to try to make things better.
After a rapid task allocation, the group went to work: we tidied up the place, painted fences, planted flowers, built furniture, distributed snacks and held creative workshops. At the end of the day, we were all exhausted both physically and emotionally. The dark clouds of the uncertain future of these kids overshadowed the satisfaction of a hard day’s work, all the laughter, and those happy faces. However, we all agreed it was worth getting to know these children, to make them laugh and do something nice for them because, even though it is just a day for our volunteers, it could mean a whole lot more for the kids.
We would like to express our appreciation to those AmCham members who participated in
this initiative; all the volunteers who gave up their free time or supported the program with material donations.
Thank you: AVIS Group, BME Kéttannyelvű Gimnázium, ExxonMobil BSC, Kürt Alapítványi Gimnázium, MAPI Zrt., NCR Hungary, Lexmark, and TATA Consultancy Services
Consultancy and individual supporters: Ilona László, Ildikó Bryják, Andrea Nagy and their partners.