Babuka is situated in Biatorbágy, west of Pest county. The inner area of the town is located in the Zsámbék Basin, surrounded by the Buda Hills. Biatorbágy was granted town status as of 1st July 2007. Biatorbágy is 20 kms away from Budapest and can be reached easily by train/bus (25-30 minutes). Its population is around 13.000 people. Most of them work locally; this fact served as the basic idea of Babuka, i.e. to help parents solve their child-care problems, since the development of the local infrastructure could not catch up with the growing number of children. Babuka basically works both as an early child center and as a kindergarten.
The primary aim of its foundation was to help parents solve the day-care problems of their children in their home town, Biatorbágy. Besides the task of simple child-care, Babuka also intends to provide children with Montessori education (for information on Montessori method use the link below), healthy food and healthy environment (in practise it means that in Babuka childcarers use chemical-free products to clean and they use eco-nappies). Besides Hungarian folk-games and music tradition, the English language and different techniques of handicraft are also introduced to the children in Babuka. Furthermore, childcarers also try to draw childrens attention to the importance of environment protection and "green" thinking through playful exercises. Chilcarers wait for children between age 1,5 and 8.
Babuka offers four types of child-care service. First of all, children can be enrolled for a whole-say care, which includes meal four times a day, the use of eco-nappy and regular Montessori education. Parents also have the possibility to use the child-care service of Babuka two or three times a week. Besides, parents can either enroll their children for "afternoon-care" or they can buy a pass enabling its owner to use Babuka s three-hour service ten times a month. The pass involves meal(s) (either breakfast+elevenses or mid-afternoon snack) and the Montessori education. Finally, Babuka also offers the opportunity for designing individual schedule for child care in case of working occasionally or with flexible working time.
Apart from child care, Babuka also undertakes to organize birthday parties and arrange child-care duties during weddings or other family days. Furthermore, as it was already mentioned, Babuka places a great emphasis on using chemical-free materials and products (e.g. crayons, glues, paints etc.); Babuka also makes these products available for parents by selling them in Babuka.
Last but not least, Babuka also organizes different programs and trainings for both children and their parents such as Montessori trainings, handicraft club, Ayres gymnastics, Spanish club, teen club, scouting etc. It also organizes summer camps to help parents to take care about their children. Besides providing help for parents to return to work, Babuka also focuses on counseling and informing parents on various topics concerning parenting and educational issues.
EVS: volunteer service at Babuka
As far as hosting is concerned, Babuka places a great emphasis on volunteers expectations. Although they prefer the one-year hosting - taking children s needs into consideration - the length of the volunteer service is always question of negotiation. Babuka provides accomodation in the building of the institute; it is a detached house having a huge garden. It has four large rooms, a room for relaxing/sleeping, a dining-room and four bathrooms. Volunteers rooms are on the first floor; it is spacious and nicely furnitured. Regarding food, on weekdays Babuka orders meal for the volunteers from the same place as from where the children get their own ones. On the weekend volunteers are provided with money to arrange their meal by themselves. In the dining room they can cook or they can also go out to eat. Besides, Babuka also offers 75kn monthly to spend on travelling.
Since EVS is a two-way service, Babuka also finds it important to offer volunteers the opportunity for learning and taking part in different trainings accoding to their interest, including language learning. Furthemore, they do their best to find mentors according to the volunteers need and mother tounge; finally the Staff of Babuka make all the efforst to help volunteers make frindships with the locals.
When I asked Beata Petes, the coordinator of EVS at Babuka, about language difficulties - since volunteers duties involve looking after children - she said that kids are quite open to the volunteers, as they find it exciting that there are "starngers" around them. They also understand a lot by means of body language and intonation. (Beata said that once only after several weeks of the arrival of the volunteer did a kid realize that the volunteer used a different language from Hungarian.)
Concerning volunteer profile, there are two impotant points that the volunteer definitely should keep in mind. First of all, in Babuka the volunteer is working with children, for this very reason people using drugs, consuming alcohol in a great amount or being heavy smokers are excluded. Secondly, Biatorbágy is a little town offering only a limited number of possibilities to have fun, and your work will hardly allow you to go out on the weekdays in Budapest. As far as weekends are concerned, going out in Budapest and having any party there is difficult because the time you can spend in the city is limited by the travelling possibilities to go home at night. However, if you are the kind who likes nature, spending your free time with hiking, walking, sightseeing, going to the cinema or to the theatre etc. the surrounding of Biatorbágy and Budapest provide you a plenty of opportunities to do these things.
To apply for a volunteer service at Babuka, you also have to take it into consideration that you will spend most of your time with children, and occassionally it means that you have to subordinate your own needs to children ones. For this very reason, the relevant background is appreciated, but what is really important is to prove your strong motivation for dealing with children.
What makes Babuka really an appealing place to volunteer is their view on EVS. They put their focus on the fact that EVS is a two-way service, and their duty is to provide the volunteers with all the possible opportunities to develop and learn. For this very reason, Beata Petes emphasized that they found it really important to keep in touch with the volunteer from the first moment until his/her arriving to develop the frameworks of the given project together and define the conditions according to the expectations and needs of both of the sides.
Besides, the trainings and the opportunity of learning language, Babuka also provides the volunteer with the chance to learn responsibility, to develop her/his maternal/paternal skills and sensitivity, to learn to understand children and how to deal with their needs, and meet different family patterns. As other EVS programs, it also helps the volunteer learn more about herself/himself, develop his/her own personality and learn independence. Furthermore, being involved in organizing trainings and programs for young people as well, the volunteer may have the chance to learn about the problems of young people of a country different from his/her own and about the their connection with the culture surrounding them.
As far as the practical issues are concerned: volunteer s job will mean supporting childcarers everyday tasks. They can also take part in organizing trainings and programs for young people in different topics, and they will be also involved in organizing summer camps and taking care about children during the camp. Whether they are able to bring new ideas of volunteerism and intercultural issues is up to the volunteers; every idea and effort in any relevant filed is warmly welcomed, because as every institute Babuka also needs all the enthusiasm and freshness to its work.
Babuka is planning to apply for a next EVs program with deadline 1st of February, which means that you can submit your CV and motivational letter until the 7th of January (2012).
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