Field Trip to the Community Centres The journey to Spišské Podhradie and Stará Ľubovňa was not taken by many, but for those who took it, it was definitely worthwhile. As the saying goes: It´s better to see once than to read or hear about a hundred times.

With that in mind, we had organized a field trip to the community centres the day before the conference to the projects Developing Communities (implemented by People in Need Slovakia) and Community on Its Way to Prosperity (implemented by ETP Slovakia).

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On the minibus, we welcomed Mr. Milan Petrík, Mayor of Košice Šaca Municipality, Zita Kakalejčíková and Michal Kružliak of Habitat for Humanity and the new coordinator of People in Need Jakub Tešínsky.

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The first stop is the community centre of People in Need Slovakia in Spišské Podhradie. The coordinator Petra Sláviková welcomes the guests in its small space. A group of children with the assistant of the community centre Janka Holubová are reading and drawing. There is a boy standing by the blackboard and two adults teaching him English and Spanish simultaneously; volunteer Pavol Hrusťuk from the Ukraine being the English teacher and volunteer Alberto Pinero from Spain being the Spanish teacher. “We also provide online counseling to the clients that are abroad. There is a list of vacancies posted on the door that also people from the majority come to check in the evenings, using the lights of their cell phones to read,” says Petra. Koferencia PO_11.2.2015 026Koferencia PO_11.2.2015 025

The atmosphere in Stará Ľubovňa – Podsadek is also pulsing. The guests are welcomed by Ľudka Stašáková, coordinator of community centres of ETP, shows them the centre, its equipment and the spacious day room as she explains about its activities. The guests are interested in seeing the settlement. Ľudka draws their attention to the repaired houses and newly-installed windows: “This is all the result of ETP projects – savings and microloans.” Since ETP commenced its work in the settlement, it has changed significantly, young people are now attending high school and there are also two university students.

Zita and Michal from Habitat for Humanity were glad to see how their organization is helping people improve the quality of their lives.

Jakub has gained inspiration for his work.

The Mayor of Šaca Milan Petrík has come for both information and inspiration. We hope we have managed to provide both. He received great admiration from all the passengers of the minibus. He has taken his post just recently but is already determined to resolve the urgent yet lengthy problem of his municipality: to help the Roma. “I was growing up in Šaca among the Roma. I like these people and I understand they will not be able to help themselves. Therefore, I am looking for a way to improve their lives and thus the lives of all the inhabitants of Šaca.”

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