One bumper sticker reads, “The most radical thing we can do is introduce people to each other.” In other words, we care for people when we have shared experiences with them. You may know statistics about poverty and sub-standard housing, but statistics have no personal meaning. It is a radical thing to meet new people, to get to know them and to make strong connections spanning geography, culture and economics. On this Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip, we will create bonds between people who would otherwise have never met.
This is a great opportunity for a European trip with a dual purpose: seeing the beautiful landscape of Hungary and capital city of Budapest, while working to help people in need. We will be building simple, decent and affordable housing in Budapest - and constructing cross-cultural bonds of peace, understanding and community. No previous construction experience needed. The main requirements are enjoying work that makes a positive difference in the world and being open to new experiences!
Located in Central Europe's Carpathian Basin, Hungary has been a link in the chain connecting the East to the West for thousands of years. It shares political borders with Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Ukraine. The landscape is mostly flat with low mountains on the Slovakian border. Hungary has a temperate climate. The summers are warm and the winters are cold with a considerate amount of snow.
About Habitat for Humanity Hungary
HFH Hungary was founded in 1996, when former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and more than 500 volunteers built 10 homes within one week in Vac. Since then, Habitat for Humanity has helped 198 families to have a decent place to live. Habitat for Humanity Hungary is also involved in a repairs and renovations program for families who cannot afford to maintain their existing homes. According to the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, 1.2 million people in the country live in overcrowded conditions. Single-room apartments are frequently shared by multiple families. Out of the almost 4 million homes in Hungary, more than 400,000 lack a water pipeline. Many homes have no sewage systems, and some 670,000 lack a flush toilet.
A large segment of Hungarians fall through the cracks of government and social support. There are those in Hungary who live in third-world poverty, those who cannot afford regular monthly repayment for housing nor utilities.
A great part of the need for Habitat for Humanity Hungary’s individual repair projects stems from the high inflation of the 1990s. Home maintenance costs grew in that decade from 10 percent of the average Hungarian family’s income to about 50 percent, rendering many low-income families unable to look after their homes. Typical problems Habitat for Humanity Hungary addresses in this program include upgrading doors and windows, fixing roofs, changing sections of walls, and adding bathrooms. Often these projects improve energy efficiency, leading to reduced environmental impact and lower energy bills for the homeowners.
You can learn more about HFH Hungary at www.habitat.hu.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers will work on renovation and rehab projects. Some projects will work in partnership with other organizations.
Day 1 (typically Saturday): Depart for Hungary.
Day 2 (Sunday): Arrival in Budapest, Hungary; welcome and orientation with Habitat Hungary national office staff member; dinner; overnight in Budapest.
Day 3 (Monday): Travel to host program; welcome and orientation with Habitat host program; dinner.
Days 4–8 (Tuesday–Saturday, Work days): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner in local restaurants; time for team activities.
Note: Special events throughout the week include cultural experiences with host program staff, such as market tours, museum visits, walking tours, etc. There will also be a farewell dinner on day 8. A half day for local cultural activities will also be scheduled for Thursday or Friday.
Day 9 (Sunday): Travel to Budapest; free time; final team dinner.
Day 10 (Monday): Departure day.
Most GV teams will stay in a hotel in Budapest and then in double-occupancy rooms with shared baths at a hotel or guesthouse near the host program.
Breakfast will be at the hotel or in a local restaurant. Lunch will be served daily on the work site and dinner will typically be taken in a local restaurant. Water and snacks are included in the cost of the trip and will be provided throughout the day.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
Increase your impact: Take the GV Challenge
Habitat for Humanity is accelerating its work to end poverty housing, and we need Global Village teams to help. Set a goal and fundraise to make your impact last longer than the days you’re in the field. Your support builds more homes, creates resource centers, educates families, and advances our projects to build sustainable communities. We’ll even provide tools to make fundraising easy. Take the GV Challenge – join us in sharing our story and building a better world.
Andrew Weber is the leader of this trip to Budapest, Hungary. Andrew is a Unitarian Universalist minister who lives with his wife in Ann Arbor, Mich. He currently volunteers with his local Habitat affiliate. Andrew has accumulated more than 12 months of volunteer work in Hungary with Habitat and speaks “construction site” Hungarian. He has found his volunteer work with Habitat, both in the USA and in Hungary, to be life-changing. Andrew hopes to share his passion for service and community with a fantastic team of volunteers in August 2013! Andrew is excited to share his love of Hungarian culture and his favorite Budapest sites with others.
“This trip will be enormously beneficial to the local community and life changing for our volunteer team. The key is that we are open to new experiences of working and learning together.”
Contact Andrew via email at WeberAndras@yahoo.com for any questions about this trip.