The Project is Great

Before the press conference held on the occasion of the Civil Society Prize awarded to ETP Slovakia, our guests Ondrej Sámeľ and Milan Gašpar were on pins and needles. The reason was obvious: for people who don´t talk to journalists every day, anxiety appears naturally. „What are we supposed to say?“, „What if we get tongue-tight?“ Their worries were voiced. There was, however, no need for those worries.

They were excellent at the conference. Milan spoke about the way his family currently lives: „We have one small room that functions as a living room, a bedroom, a children’s room, a kitchen and a bathroom. We have to bring the water from the outside. We have three kids … We want to live as humans, therefore we began the construction…“

To answer the question of the reporter of the News Agency of the Slovak Republic (TASR) about what the builders´ financial contribution was, Milan Gašpar started counting; he had saved a sum of 500€, which was doubled by a saving bonus from ETP Slovakia. ETP also provided a microloan, which he will star repaying once the house has been built.

Milan would like to move into his new house in September next year; he wants his children to have better conditions for studying once the new school year begins. He hurries to finish the construction being at the site from early morning until late evening. His brothers and uncles are also joining to help him. 

´Can you say that the project has proven successful?´ followed the next question asked by TASR. The director of ETP Slávka Mačáková answered concisely: „We would like to see this practice implemented by government bodies as well“. Words of gratefulness started pouring from Milan Gašpar´s heart: „This project is great! Thanks to the program, we are going to live in a bigger house. Being unemployed, there´s no way I could be able to afford it from the social benefits.

´Wasn´t there a problem with the connection to infrastructure?´ was the next journalist´s question. There was at first, but it has already been solved: the source of water was built for the first six households thanks to the gift from The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. Ondrej Sámeľ who has been guiding the workers since the very beginning of the construction, talked about the concrete steps taken in the building process and about how people gradually learned from their own mistakes.

Is it possible to include Spiš region into the Building Hope project? It would certainly be welcome in Moldava nad Bodvou as well…, responded a representative of the Slovak Syndicate of Journalists. The director of ETP Slávka Mačáková explains: „We focus especially on localities where our community centres are situated. We used to operate in Spiš region too and we would be glad to renew our activities there. We are discussing the issue with the Ministry. It is possible for Moldava to enter the project. Yet, so far the trend has been for 10 shacks to appear next to the construction site every year… According to the Atlas of Roma Communities, there are approximately 10 000 families in Slovakia living in unacceptable conditions…

After the press conference, Milan and Ondrej were well-content. They expressed how proud they felt when they were boarding the planes in Brussels and Vienna, carrying the framed Civil Society Prize with them.