ADVERTORIAL

Communities that grow together

There are many groups of active people in Slovakia who devote time and energy to others.

In cooperation with the VUB Foundation, we have had a look at several of them. While these stories, which took place in 2019, may seem "ordinary”, they certainly help to illustrate a positive picture of life in our country.

More space for community solutions

Enthusiasm and willingness to invest one‘s time are always the basis for moving forward in our neighborhood. However, without a financial “injection” in the form of a grant, it usually does not work. Dozens of civic associations, community centres, schools and municipalities were able to join forces with the VUB Foundation last year, which has long been focused on supporting communities in all regions. The “Community Grants“ programme has earmarked more than EUR 350,000 for this purpose.

  • Thanks to a grant, a community room has been created in the infamous Pentagon apartment building in Vrakuňa, Bratislava. It is designed for all decent people who care about their neighborhood and want to actively fight for change and better relations.
  • Regular Oflajn quiz sessions were held in Trenčín in 2019. They were all about having fun, gaining new knowledge and turning phones off. The project, prepared by the organisation Voices with the support of the VUB Foundation, brought a lot of positive energy to the city. It managed to bring people together - young and elderly - who would not normally have the opportunity to meet.
  • Lajos Pongrácz Primary School in Šahy is one example that teaching in Slovakia is becoming increasingly livelier and more ecologically oriented. The “Fairy-tale Bird Garden“, created by teachers and pupils within the compounds of the school, helps children to build a better relationship with nature and serves as a place to spend more time outside the classroom, in fresh air with their friends.
  • The series of popular public events in the capital, “Dobrý trh” (Good Market), embodied the spirit of an active neighborhood last year. By joining hands with the VUB Foundation as a “partner for communities”, local residents and shops were even more involved in the original neighborhood programme, which reinforced the genuine and inimitable vibe of the event for thousands of visitors.

More hope for less fortunate people and families

Fortunately, the willingness to help the disadvantaged or the oldest of us is not a value that is only mentioned in fairy tales. In Slovakia, a growing number of projects of non-profit organisations that want to pursue this mission is emerging. They have partnered with the VUB Foundation, which provides grants for this meritorious work.

  • Good news also comes from the eastern part of the country. The Roma families with children in the villages of Zborov, Kecerovce and Muránska Dlhá Lúka are attended by specially trained Roma women from the civic association “Cesta von” (Way out). These educated “omamas” have a clear goal - to help local mothers in their upbringing and to provide children under 3 with the foundations for a better and more prosperous life.
  • In Košice and Prešov, Dorka centres function as homes for women in need. There are also workshops where several women sew original and practical bags made from waste tarpaulin, which previously served as advertisements banners. Mothers thus have the opportunity to earn an additional income and participate in the production of something that makes sense to others. The story of “Dorka bags” is really extraordinary. Therefore, VUB decided to support it.
  • In the past, VUB used to provide all of its employees small Christmas presents. Last year, however, a team of people from the bank came up with the idea of turning this tradition into a new way of dedicating attention and providing help to those who feel lonely before Christmas, making much more use of these presents. Their VUB colleagues unequivocally agreed with this idea by internal vote. Thus, from the funds originally allocated for this purpose, useful Christmas gifts were purchased and handed out by VUB employees, which pleased nearly 1,300 elderly people living in a total of 17 retirement homes and social services facilities throughout Slovakia. This project has been nominated for the Via Bona Slovakia 2019 prize.

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