Depaul Slovakia: Breakfast for the Homeless

 
$11,507 $3,493
Raised Remaining
Former state
Former state

In June we had a big celebration day. Our patron Duchess of Norfolk together with our clients, guests and city officials opened the newly renovated North Wing of the Nightshelter St Vincent de Paul. This was a long planned and eagerly expected event. One huge hall packed with 80 beds and just three showers was transformed within few weeks into two floors with 10 rooms, plenty of toilets and enough showers. While capacity of the nightshelter remains the same, quality and scope of our social work will improve. The old part of the nightshelter still waiting for reconstruction will be used as a low threshold section for people with drug and alcohol abuse. We expect that desire to move to a better place might be a strong motivation for some of our clients to take responsibility and fight for better life. Price per night remains 85 cents per night, which includes bed, shower, hot supper and breakfast.

In July we also relocated our Shelter St. Louise de Marillac for sick and elderly homeless people. The shelter was moved from a nice residential area into a new place in downtown, next to the Summer Archbishop palace which houses Slovak government. While enjoying nicer and bigger rooms in this new place some of our clients miss our old garden. They loved so much to work there and enjoyed flowers, trees, bushes and even fruits and vegetables. After few days spent in a new place they looked around and decided to “adopt” a nearby park. They plan to clean it, care for it and enjoy it the same way as they did their old garden.

Thank you for joining us in helping people in need.

The new bedroom
The new bedroom
Bedroom
Bedroom
Opening with our patron, Duchess of Norfolk
Opening with our patron, Duchess of Norfolk
Our patron
Our patron
Bathroom
Bathroom
Christmas concert in the shelter
Christmas concert in the shelter

Thank you for your support. Winter is over and the number of clients at Nightshelter dropped from 170 (average in February) to 140. Busy winter is over and we still remember exciting events happening during the city festival Month for Homeless. For our clients the highlight of the month was concert during which the nightshelter was transformed into a concert hall where more than 600 people enjoyed great music (including Lola Marsh from Israel). These days Nightshelter became a very busy place crowded with clients during the night and workers and building machines during the day. Clients sleep squeezed in one half of the building while the other half is going through reconstruction. We hope that within few weeks builders move out and we (and clients especially) will enjoy new expanded space.

 We at Depaul Slovensko are going through interesting times these days. Besides the struggle which any NGO operating in this part of the world faces every day (i.e. how to survive with limited resources) we were stretched by new challenges. While still faithful to our mission to help people on streets survive by providing food, beds and basic care, we see new opportunities which might help us to expand our services to new areas.

 For a long time we have struggled with consequences of limited access of homeless to health care system. Many homeless have no health insurance, they lack finances or struggle with unsupportive staff at clinics and hospitals. To address this problem we are opening a medical clinic for homeless in next couple of weeks.

 Our Shelter of St. Louise de Marillac which helps primarily sick and handicapped people (with 30 beds) received a notice from the owner of the building that we have to leave by the summer. While still thankful to the owner for those 8 years during which he rented us the building free of charge, we have to find a new place for it. Temporary solution for one year was offered to us by St. Elisabeth University of Health and Social Sciences, but we are looking for permanent solution. We took this situation as opportunity and we plan to open new services which are still missing. Together with new shelter we also plan to start a senior house and a care home for homeless.

 

Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner
Garden where our clients grow vegetable
Garden where our clients grow vegetable
Hall - sleeping area, the current condition
Hall - sleeping area, the current condition

Yesterday - 26th January 2015 was very important day for our shelter. The major reconstruction of the building St. Vincent de Paul building has begun. Tyhe building is the biggest shelter for homeless people in Slovakia and it has been working non-stop since 2006. So far we offered 380,258 overnight stays for 4,553 homeless people.

We started the recontruction to be able to provide more space for homeless people. Thanks to you we can help on daily basis many people. But still the capacity of our building is limited and many homeless people are forced to sleep on the streets.

The reconstruction will split the space into two floors with sanitation and sleeping area. We will increase the quiality of our services and improve conditions for the work with people with special needs.

Thank you for your help. It is saving lives. Right now.

Exterior showers and toilets
Exterior showers and toilets
The shelter during a day
The shelter during a day
The bread
The bread

We want to express our big Thank you to all donors who supported our project on Global Giving. The gift will be used for preparing food for clients in nightshelter and two shelters.

 Since 2006 we serve people in need every day and night with no interruption. Nothing, even the planned reconstruction will not close our nightshelter’s door and stops us from providing shelter for people in need. There is no other place in Bratislava which would offer similar services for clients with no additional conditions to enter. At the moment we help daily 180-210 clients in our nightshelter and two shelters.

 Our clients from shelter St. Louise enjoyed sunny days of the early autumn which made gardening very pleasant and rewarding. Vegetables and fruits harvested from the garden were used and shared with other clients and joy was multiplied. Clients at Nightshelter celebrated the World Bread Day in October with the biggest loaf of bread ever made in Slovakia. The bread was made in Nitra’s bakery and was 2,29m long, 0,8m wide with weight 36kg. It only took one supper at nightshelter to consume it.

 Since October we started a Working Groups pilot project focused primarily on our clients from nightshelter. Two times a group of 20 people collected garbage and cleaned streets in a nearby area. The goal is to motivate our clients, activate them in a meaningful work and give them opportunity to pre-pay for our services and gain other benefits. We were encouraged to see many clients interested in this project and enjoying the activity. As a secret surprise we prepared for them a special food served on nice china with white tablecloths. They just loved it. It was exciting start, but we need a longer period for proper evaluation. The plan is to expand this activity into a work agency or social business which would generate jobs for our clients and provide space for our social workers to deal with their debts and other work problems.

Sharing the bread
Sharing the bread
Garden
Garden
Together
Together
Shelter of St. Vincent
Shelter of St. Vincent

Big thanks to all our donors and supporters from Global Giving.

 

Your gifts help us provide food for our clients. Even if we are still in the middle of the summer, which is usually a low peak season for our nightshelter, we serve food and provide beds for about 120 homeless every night. Together with those 55 clients who stay in our shelters, we feed every day up to 200 people. But helping people on streets to survive is just the first step. We also try to help them whatever their needs are: to get medical help, to deal with state institutions, look for jobs or accommodation, get in contacts with family, deal with debts or to find pension house or other institutions suitable for them.

 

To motivate clients and keep them active we try to get them involved in manual work. As a part of the social program we clean area near our projects, we organize art workshops and we also planted two gardens. Especially vegetable garden at St. Louise shelter is very fruitful and successful. Janko never worked in the garden before, but once he started he got immediately caught. Every day he can be seen in the garden: planting, watering, weeding, planning new fields or harvesting vegetables. “I am so happy to see how everything grows and blossoms. And if I see other people enjoying fresh fruit and vegetables I am really excited. … Without garden you just stay in bed and do nothing. But once you have work you can enjoy, you are happy and you have something to live for. ”

Summer in our garden
Summer in our garden
Work-therapy in the garden
Work-therapy in the garden
Harvesting the garlic
Harvesting the garlic

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Organization

Project Leader

Sandra Stasselova

program coordinator for corporate volunteering and pro bono
Bratislava, Slovakia

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