Shelter House Foundation primarily aims at giving a helping hand for those people who without a regular dwelling are forced to spend their everydays in the streets, creating an isolated layer of the society. Furthermore, since its activity is also preventive, Shelter House Foundation also provides accomodation for families who due to their private problems (poverty, unemployment) would be subjected to seperation otherwise.
Besides accomodation, Shelter House Foundation also aims at giving all the assistance that helps its customers to change their present social situation and solve their private problems that make them ended up as they are.
As a result of its activity, among the customers of Shelter House Foundation you can find homeless, poor and usually unemployed people either arriving alone or with their family.
If you are interested in social issues and if you are sensitive enough to the special problem of poverty, if you are ready to experience it at first hand, sharing the affinity to help people in need in practice I highgly recommend you Shelter House Foundation to spend your volunteer service at. Apart from social issues such as poverty, you can also obtain first-hand experinence about drug-prevention, rehabilitation and even mobile surgeries. Beisdes tha fact that this experience definitly develop your personality and help you to get to know yourself better, they also help you to orientate yourself within the filed as far as your future career is concerned.
Shelter House Foundation
Shelter House Foundation operates four institutions; as far as the official issues are concerned it is divided into two: one being responsible for homeless service and the other for family-care.
Daytime Shelter - Daytime Shelter provides rooms from 9.00 am to 5.00 p.m for people in need to stay. For practical reasons customers are mainly homeless people living in the streets of the same district as the Shelter House Foundation is situated. However, homeless people from other districts are also welcomed. Besides staying, they also have the possibility to have a shower, wash and dry their clothes and prepare or just warm their food. Furthermore, they are also offered to use the telephone, the internet or visit the social information office in order to search for a job and manage their private issues. Finally, social workers provide them with social- and mental care, organising different leisure activities through the Workshop Club and other free time activities such as trips, bycicle tours and visiting museums.
Overnight Shelter - Overnight Shelter is available for the customers from 6.00 pm to 8.00 am. The primary aim of Shelter House Foundation was to provide a safe and peacful accomodation for the customers without eveyday conflicts and stealing. For this very reason there are camera inserted in the corridors and the rooms are kept locked. Another important difference between the accomodation offered by Shelter House Foundation and the rest available for homeless people that the accomodation provided by Shelter House Foundation is co-educated. This way couples living together in the streets do not have to seperate for the night (note that although the accomodation is co-educated, the rooms are not), which makes them feeling more secure and comfortable.
The only rule for the time of staying is the following: they cannot stay out for more than one night. If they do, their beds are given for someone else. As far as the rooms are concerned there are five to seven beds in a room, seperated from each other with paravans, and there are no bunk beds; this way they can experience some extent of privacy, which is a need for every person. In the case of Overnight Shelter customers are recommended by the Street Social Services (the customers brough in by the Crisis Car are also welcomed for a night). Customers of the Overnight Shelter are also provided with the same "extras" as the customers of the Daytime Shelter such as internet and bathroom. Furthermore, they have the possibility to leave their baggage in safe in the rooms taking care of by the staff.
Families Temporary Homes - Families Temporary Homes welcomes both families in need and pregnant single mothers from all over the country. The task of Families Temporary Homes is twofold: to protect the families from being torn apart (causing often irreversible changes in the family members lives and personalities) and providing the families with professional help to solve their problems (e.g. to find a job, to solve their accomodation problems, to continue their studies, etc). Shelter House Foundation puts its main focus on childrens protection and the satisfaction of their age and developmental needs. It is also important to show the families how to change their life-style, presenting right patterns of family life for them. To realize these aims Families Temporary Homes offers job-, life- and health-related consulting, moreover the staff is also ready to supply all the available information about social services for which a given family is entitled.
EVS: volunteer service at the Shelter House Foundation
This is the first time that Shelter House Foundation is hosting volunteers. Despite this fact, they are fully prepared to welcome volunteers and they have done all of the neccessary steps to make them feel comfortable in both Budapest and the institution. Presently, the institution is hosting two volunteers for half a year but depending on the success of their current and next projects they would like to extend the project for two further volunteers in the near future. The next date of appliance is planned by 1st of June.
The institution itself is situated in the edge of the 11th district; admittedly it is quite out-of-the-way with respect to the city center and the most frequented places of the capital. For this very reason, Shelter House Foundation provides its volunteers with travel cards; alternatively they can also provide bycicle if it is required. (map)
Accomodation for volunteers is provided in the institution itself on the second floor, where the family homes can also be found. The volunteers place is seperated by a barred door from the rest of the floor. Note that only the volunteers have the key for the barred door. The accomodation itself involves a room with two beds, a kitchen (preparing food is up to the volunteers supported by the institution with money) and a bath room - both are used by the volunteers exclusively. All the three rooms are fully renovated and modernized. Finally, thanks to the 24-hour reception volunteers can arrive and leave their place whenever they wish. (map)
Although you have to share your room with the other volunteer, besides some inconvinience, it also means that you have the possibility to get to know another culture besides the Hungarain one, and that you can start your volunteer service with a friend by your side.
As far as the staff is concerned its members are really kind and friendly; those I met were all young - close to my age, which made me comfortable. They were really opened to me as well, although I was there unofficially. I was showed around by Nora Bagdi who, besides being one of the institute leaders, is the mentor of the present volunteers (note that she is available on phone 24 hours a day); she was also really helpful and kind.
Although this is the first hosting program they are taking part in, members of the staff are quite caring: they helped their volunteers with the arrival, waiting for them at the airport and providing them with an information package about the country. Furthermore, after the first "showing around" they also organized a welcoming party for the volunteers to make them feel home and give the chance to learn more about their colleagues and the city.
Shelter House Foundation also provides its volunteers with Hungarian language lessons to help them to accomodate themselves to their new living place and be more successful in their work.
Volunteers duties mainly involve helping the customers in their everyday life, e.g. helping them to make the washing-machine work. Note that the more you speak Hungarian the more you can help. You can make contact with the customers easier; keep in mind that the customers in Shelter House Foundation usually do not speak English - just consider where they come from. For this very reason it is essential to learn the language as much as possible for you. Strictly speaking, Hungarian is one of the most difficult langauges but this work requires you to do your best. Besides work around the "house", volunteers tasks also mean taking care about children. Nora said that children were really opened to the volunteers; they really found it exciting to be with people from another country and they also showed interest in learning langauges. Volunteers are also expected to take part activly in arranging and taking part in leisure activities and programs organized for the customers, moreover to join the different workshops; finally volunteers can also help with food preparing and division in the streets.
Shelter House Foundation applied for EVS with the aim to provide volunteers with the chance to observe professional work from the background and learn more both about the suceesses in and the concerns behind social work. To fulfil this aim members of the staff are always ready to consult with the volunteers in case of any questions arising about the job and involve them into their discussions.
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