Pontis Foundation

To motivate individuals, communities and companies to be responsible for themselves and the wider world.
Jan 23, 2017

I help people on the run. Why?

Kaja is a live book
Kaja is a live book

            Kaja is a Live book in the Live Library of Amnesty International. She decided to tell us her story,  which was formerly known as "Kaja's underpants" . The story isn't only about her and her helping people on the run - it's about how every one of us can change things for the better. You only have to start. We hope to get you inspired.

 

            I am a 23 year old student of Political Science, a member of Administration Board of Amnesty International Slovakia and a longterm volunteer in the Slovak office of the biggest international non-governmental organization of human rights in the world. In the last year I visited several places in Europe, where refugees from different parts of the world gather. People often ask why I do that. I thought about the answer many times but in the end my effort to find it was superfluous. It was enough that I believed the things I do are simply good and needed. But the questions keeps coming back like a boomerang and I realized that it's because that's what people find the most interesting about my volunteering activities. I am going to attempt to think about this answer again, because maybe it could inspire other people.

 

            The term refugee comes with a certain image. For some it is a person running away from war or persecution, for others it is a speculator who longs for a better financial security. We all percieve refugees as somebody who travels for months in any weather for thousands of kilometres, or undertakes a lifethreathening trip on the sea. Somebody who survives and comes to Europe and lives a for a certain period of time without proper food, or hygiene products somewhere in a tent at the periferies and doesn't know what the future holds as they wait for the decision about issuing the asylum. One would say (and I heard this opinion a lot of times): "What did they expect? They knew beforehand what the escape takes." However.

           

            Refugees are PEOPLE in the first place. No matter where they come from, why they embarked on the journey (during which the likelihood of death, permanent health problems or uncertainty about future were so high, that I personally don't belive they would do that willingly), or whichever belief they are, or what social class they belonged to at home. I think that if the western society proves that they truly believe in ideas of democracy and protection of human and natural rights of every individual, which it proclaims proudly for centuries, it has to understand that every refugee is a human in the first place. Parent, child, partner, friend. And then a refugee.

 

            The fact that refugees are forced to live in provisory, unsufficiently secured camps in forrests, that they are always hungry, and they don't have an access to a much needed health services is an idea which we more or less see as something ordinary. However, if we take away the imaginary label and repeat the sentence from the start, so that it were PEOPLE who came to Europe, who live in provisory, unsufficiently secured camps, while political leaders up until these days weren't able to decide how to help them (and what to actually do with them) maybe we feel a little disheartened. This awful feeling may even grow further when we call the things by their rightfull names and add that it were WAR VICTIMS that live in these provisory, unsufficiently secured camps as Europe stays silent.

 

            That is why I help runaways. They are different from me, my family, and people I love and who I admire, "just" by the fact that they escaped certain death during the war and they hoped that the oh so sung about and developed civilization like the European one will help them to get back on their feet. And while the states don't realize it is the time to share the responsibility for human lives, the work is left to us, non-governmental organizations and volunteers.

 

Do you want to join us?

            Thanks to non-governmental non-profit organization Animus Apertus in which name I work on a project called Together For The People On The Run you have a awesome opportunity to travel for a few day long volunteer trip to refugee camps on Serbo-Hungarian border. In case you are interested please don't hesitate and contact me through my e-mail address bernatova@animusapertus.sk Project Together For People On The Run was supported by non-governmental non-profit organization Foundation for Kids Of Slovakia from the fund of Help for Kids in Runaway Crisis.

 

Translation: Michaela V.

Jan 18, 2017

Sports for all, also for those with mental illness

Clients and volunteers before match in ping-pong
Clients and volunteers before match in ping-pong

People with mental illness (schizophrenia, depression ...) often have it hard to find the motivation for physical activity which helps them in healing process. When they try to sport in a normal environment they must overcome the diseases they face, but also prejudices of other people.

 

And how they perceive our collective sporting themselves? 

Monika, 31 r. DSS-MOST, N. O.

"Recently sport is helping me the most. It's good, because on one side adrenaline is discharged, and on the other hand I am having fun with friends. We are quite a good team, and from time to time we invite clients from other organizations such as CMZ Matka and we can compete against friends from Dell from time to time. So we met on 19 October 2016. It was a real fun, we played billiard, ping - pong, football -  and table football. We communicated a lot between the games.  It was day full of fun, energy and social interaction and that helped us a lot "

 

Lucia, 40 r., RS Samaria:

"I come here often. I like to be among people, I like ping pong, table football. It always lifts my mood! And what did I take away from this sport day? Good mood and I have a friend here so we always talk a lot together."

 

Stefan, 30 r., CMZ Mother:

 "Now I'm on these sports events for the first time. There is a very good team, people are friendly. I played football and we won against volunteers from Dell. "

 

Experience of acceptation in the wider community help a lot not only our MOST clients but also to those from Center Samara. It helps break down the stigma of failure and prejudice. Clients can deviate from the daily stereotype and social isolation, interact with people with similar problems but also with those healthy. Time spent away from home and a new positive experiences are important in the rehabilitation process, acquiring new skills and thus support their own self-confidence.

Thank you!

Cooperation is the key
Cooperation is the key
Good game of table football is always helpful
Good game of table football is always helpful
Jan 18, 2017

We want to thank every donor!

Newly decorated playground in Kopcany
Newly decorated playground in Kopcany

Charity checks tend to be passed on  the stage with words of gratitude and applause from those who receive them.

In Great Country we don't have a stage, but if we would like to personally thank to all donors from last year, we would need a stadium with 2393 seats! Just as many people donated through Great Country and because of it many great things happened.

128 888,12 eur has been collected from everyone! For 56 organizations, every donation means that you trust them and want from them to continue to do their job. And for that, in Great Country, we are immensely grateful to you.

How your donations changed Slovakia in 2016?

In Kokava nad Rimavicou they are buliding educational apiary for the children, so they can look into the fascinating world of pollinators in any weather. In Zajezova school, organization Zivica has built a biological sewage and completed an interactive garden. For these and other educational projects, you contributed especially during the "24-hodinovka".

In Bratislava's Kopcany young people under the guidance of experienced artists transformed part of the sports ground. From the former American rapper Notorious B.I.G., who grew up in very similar conditions as them, they came up with the idea that their rapper could speak Romani. Sprays for the whole painting were purchased from your gifts collected during #givingtuesday.

Highest priority (39% of gifts) was dedicated  to the disabled and socially disadvantaged people. Severely disabled clients of Nezabudka centrum were going to swimming and to the hippotherapy also thanks to you. Deafblind from Majak enjoy themselves in the new studio, which was built in the garden. Civic association "Nepocujuce dieta" brought good news after more than a year of effort, when the Ministry of Health approved the increase in reimbursements for hearing aids for deaf children. Parents of autistic children could relax knowing that it is taken care about them at the autism center Andreas.Thank you for all of these!

 
   

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