Health
 Slovakia
Project #11871

Depaul Slovakia: Breakfast for the Homeless

by Pontis Foundation
Vetted
We made it through 10th year of our existence
We made it through 10th year of our existence

Depaul Slovakia has completed the tenth year of existence. We are extremely pleased that more and more people support us not only financially, but also morally. We are grateful for every encouraging word, or positive feedback. We are looking forward to new challenges in 2017.

For all the stories we would like to offer one with Milan. It is people like Milan for whom is your support most important.

Thank you very much, we appreciate it. 

Milan and his story
I was distributing drugs after the night service. Our new client just lied there with red liquid leaking from his mouth. Panic, I had almost called an ambulance, but as I was still new to Lujza I misspelled the adress. I was trying to wake him. Milan, do you live? How do you feel? And he laconically said: "What would I be?" I just bite into my gums.

So we met. And then the whole mountain of other winged sentences - raking in, one after another:

I'm not hungry for rice, but for bacon.

Are you going to fly out of the window madam?. You look so fluffy.

If you were death i would never die.

For the rare occasions he hung his white shirt next to the bed. When they were taking pictures of him for Nota Bene magazine, we had to iron it and he waited in the shirt two hours earlier before the shooting. Though - to start preparing several hours in advance for Milan was a necessity, the pace of life was, due to health problems, not only moderato, but largo (musicians know). He was in retirement age, total homeless, the family had reportedly claimed his housing, he had heart problems and legs carry him more and more cumbersome. He did not live long on the street, thankfuly. But still he had some debts, but again it was not the end of the world. He has been with us since the spring of 2016 and finally before Christmas 2016, the social workers managed to find Milan accommodation in a nursing home. We wish you all the best Milan!

Thank you!
Thank you!
Students helping us at Depaul shelter
Students helping us at Depaul shelter

Summer is over in Depaul and the preparation for winter season is in the process.  Sunny days in Depaul were full of activities.

We prepared the financial collection for Luboš, one of our clients. We raised a small campaign on Facebook. It was so great to see, how people expressed their empathy towards Lubos´ difficult situation.  The aim was to ensure the remedies for him, as he had cancer. Unfortunatelly, Luboš died. Everyone is thinking about him as a person who loved to read Agatha Cristie and was deeply interested in the life that surrounded him. 

During summer months we continued with the work groups of homeless people who are mainly cleaning the streets. Based on positive feedbacks from the city districts, where the clients are working, new agreement was signed, even with the daily basis of the clean services. We are really proud with our clients and how they succeeded. They have the opportunity to attend  the training focused on the carrier counseling and that can help them to find a new job.

Interest of the volunteers within Depaul is still growing. Happy to see that! Last time young people from Leaf Academy joined us to help us to clean the rooms in our nightshelter. Our main entrance  now looks as a new one! Young students painted it with bueatiful orange colour. We do appreciate the interest of the young people in the topic of the homelessness in order to raise more awareness.

We consider the public exhibition at Hviezdoslavovo square a big succes. It is one of the busiest and largest squares in Bratislava. The pictures captured during 10 years of the organization with the short comments, in Slovak and English version were deeply appreciated by the observing public. People really liked it!

Everything what we are doing could not happen without support of our donors - you. Let us express deep and frank thank you!

Exhibition at Hviezdoslavovo square
Exhibition at Hviezdoslavovo square
Volunteers cleaning the shelter
Volunteers cleaning the shelter

Another interesting period in Depaul has passed. During spring and summer months our clients experienced new opportunities and possibilities. Nighshelter is still fully occupies, even though usually during summer days the capacity is not fully covered.

During spring months we have started with the new integration project – working groups of homeless people who are mainly cleaning the streets. This is considered as a first stage of the integration process. The aim is that the clients will get again  the basic working skills, to cooperate with the members of the team. Besides, there is another carrier counseling (based on the positive feedbacks from the first training and the successful stories of 4 clients who found the job) for the clients of Depaul Slovakia.  At the moment we do cooperate with two city parts on weekly bases.

 Thanks to supporters we are able to help to homeless people more effectively. One of the group that is in danger are elder people. In our shelter there was old lady called Tonka. Our social workers found her at the basement of the block of flats, trying to find out if she has some relatives but with no any success. She was talking to herself, her diagnoses was schisophrenia.  Tonka spent some time in our shelter, while our workers managed for her a place in the retirement house.

Each spring the organizations can join the collection organized by the companies. This year three companies decided to support Depaul by providing especially the clothes that will be offered to the clients of Depaul.

During whole year we are trying to increase the awareness about the homeless people. One way how it can be done is the form of volunteering. During June we hosted 13 volunteers from different companies.  They spent some time at the nighshelter in order to clean and sort out the clothes from dressing room. It serves for our clients in case they need some clothing.

Everything what we are doing could not happen without the support and help of the public. Let us express deep and frank thank you!

Tonka
Tonka
Developing basic working skills
Developing basic working skills
Cleaning the park near the shelter
Cleaning the park near the shelter

Depaul Slovakia Actions

Period January 2016 – April 2016

To begin with, let us thank you for all your support and help to our organization. 
Thanks to your help the homeless people have a chance to make a change in their life.

After a very busy end of year, which on the other hand was full of nice activities, we started 2016 with new campaigns.

In January we tried to give feedback to all companies and donors who participated to Christmas celebration for the homeless people at Depaul.

Based on the knowledge that social media are a very powerful tool to spread the information, we have created the “Album of Help” gathering stories of homeless people to help them find donors for their individual needs. Reactions to this campaign were over our expectations.

  • The very first story was about Štefan, who had had a debt on social insurance and because of that could not apply for the invalidity pension. Within a few days we raised enough money to pay off the debt and now Štefan is already receiving his pension.
  • Another story was about Peter, who unfortunatelay died in the nightshelter. For his family who lives 400 km far from Bratislava the major problem in this sad situation was to transport his body home to bury him. We have raised a request at the “Album of Help” and we were very surprised by the emotions coming from Peter´s death.  After a few weeks we collected enough money to prepare everything that was needed to bury him. Even his family contributed with the amount that was possible for them. We do really appreciate empathy of all donors, on behalf of Peter´s family as well.

That is why in March we had very sad moments in our organization where two of our clients died: Peter (as mentioned before) and Ján. We prepared a nice farewell for them: next to the building of the night shelter there is a small garden with a big cross made by our clients. We invited a priest to celebrate mass in memory of both our clients who passed away. Homeless people who knew them joined Depaul staff as well. One woman moved by a nice atmosphere there left a written message for Depaul team. In the letter she expressed her “… thanks to workers and managers of the nightshelter who are helping … and who are able to make impossible things real”.  And also who: “ … are not (like) politicians, but people with Big Hearths.” Feedbacks like this from people we serve are the best motivation to do our job better. 

Now to continue on a nicer tone, our clients from the Shelter of St. Louise de Marillac try to take advantage of the nicer weather coming from the beginning of spring to go out. Each Thursday they are cleaning a park close to our shelter. Before Easter they also participated in the preparations of the Easter decoration. Gardening is a very useful activity for therapy. Homeless people from our shelter spent a lot of time in the backyard preparing space to plant vegetables. During their free time, social workers organized the chess competition and winners got nice presents. Recently they visited a National Gallery and had the sightseeing tour within the old part of the town. The clients of the shelter are very happy with such kind of the activities. 

 

 

             

Chess competition
Chess competition
Peter and his wooden churches
Peter and his wooden churches
Preparation of the Easter decorations
Preparation of the Easter decorations
Visit of the national gallery
Visit of the national gallery
Mass in memory of our lost friends
Mass in memory of our lost friends
Exterior of our shelter
Exterior of our shelter

Every Autumn we are eagerly waiting for a long term weather prognosis for the coming winter. If winter is cold and long, people on streets suffer. Some of the homeless live in gardens, hats or other “lucrative” places. With freezing season they face a dilemma: “Should I stay and suffer or should I go to a nightshelter”. The problem is that once the place is left empty somebody else might come and occupy it. So many of them decide to rather stay then risk losing good place and leave only if absolutely necessary.

Nightshelter which is better equipped after reconstruction became more attractive even for these “seasonal guests”. Additional attractions for many homeless are working groups. Client can join one of our groups which clean streets and can “earn” food and accommodation for 7 nights. The number of clients using nightshelter every night has increased this winter. At the moment we have capacity 200 places with additional room which might be used in emergency situations. 

On 6th December the nightshelter attracted people from Bratislava who love good music. Together with Pohoda Festival we organized the second year of Doma dobre (Home is good) festival. Our partner Michal Kašcák always tries to create a unique program which is not possible to see anywhere else. This year we had String quartet (SK) playing Albrechts Carolls, Longitall Suite (SK), Midi lidi (CZ) and My Baby (NL) music groups. Atmosphere was fantastic and more than 600 people really enjoyed music, good food and many interesting discussions.

 Among volunteers who helped us during concert was Steven. Always ready to help he also helped us during food collection a month before. He is our client and lives in our shelter. Steven got divorced some time ago. He left the flat with ex-wife and children and moved to a hostel. Later he found a girlfriend and moved to live with her. Last year they separated and he also lost his job. Suddenly his life was in pieces. He became homeless owning nothing just debts. Within few days he contacted Depaul which probably saved him from getting deeper into troubles. We gave him bed at shelter and tried to help him to find a job. In September he participated in a career cancelling course which we organized for our clients. Steven was among five successful clients who got a job soon after the course. As a driver he is delivering goods for a company. He loves his job and boss is happy with him. The shelter is not an easy place for a working person – he works when others are sleeping and wants to sleeps when others are awake. He is eager to leave shelter but cannot. After he pays his debts installments there is not much money left for him to live and pay for hostel. At the moment we are looking for people willing to help him and offer a cheaper rent. And in the meantime he is helping us whenever we need.

During the Christmas time we prepared a special evening for our clients full of music, fantastic food and presents for each client. We could do it thanks to many people who donated money, food, cakes and even gifts. So nobody was alone during this special time. 

Doma dobre concert
Doma dobre concert
Doma dobre (home well) concert
Doma dobre (home well) concert
Christmas at Nightshelter
Christmas at Nightshelter
Distributing Christmas presents at the shelter
Distributing Christmas presents at the shelter
 

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Organization Information

Pontis Foundation

Location: Bratislava, Slovakia - Slovakia
Website: http:/​/​www.pontisfoundation.sk
Project Leader:
Marek Chalány
program coordinator for individual philantropy
Bratislava, Slovakia

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