You Can Be Santa Claus Even for the Whole Year

When the Polish volunteer, Krystian started to work at the Temporary Shelter for Families in Békásmegyer, he didn’t know what tasks he will have. He was scared, but also excited. Now, after two months he knows much more. Our EVS volunteer, Natalia Puchajda is reporting.

The Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta (Magyar Máltai Szeretetszolgálat) has lots of fields of work. One of their institutions is the Temporary Shelter for Families in Békásmegyer, where ten families live with their children.

The shelter supports families who temporarily or permanently are left without home, and they don’t have a place to stay at. In the house they can live together with their families, and they can get a new opportunity for their further life. Based on the law and regulations, they can stay in the institution for one and a half year. The aim is to prepare the families for independent lifestyle, taking care of their children in a proper way, getting their family bonds in order, and realize and develop their own values.


A high number of permanent employees and volunteers work at the shelter. There is also one volunteer from abroad, who is doing his European Voluntary Service (EVS) project here. This person is Krystian Wróbel. He will work at this place till the end of July. He told us some stories about his work.

Krystian in the circle of EVS volunteers and coordinators

He works from Monday till Friday and his working hours are different. He has a lot of tasks. One of them is helping with cloth selection and distribution. When some people bring clothes to the institution, he selects the ones for families who live in the Family Shelter and for other people who need help. Now as the winter is upon us, he selects the clothes for the cold season mostly – sweaters, gloves, scarfs and coats are on the winter top list. Every Monday people who need clothes, but don’t have money to buy new ones, come to the shelter. Almost always they can find what they need.

During the weekdays in the social kitchen of the shelter they are cooking food for elderly people and people in need. Krystian also helps in the kitchen.

The foreign volunteer takes part in the elderly club as well. It is a good opportunity for Krystian to learn Hungarian. On Wednesdays elderly people coming to the shelter can listen and sing songs, play board games and make handicraft products. They also have the opportunity to go to the Opera and take part in other programs.


Several times during the week Krystian works with the children who live in the family shelter. He plays board games with them and prepares some small activities, like energizers. He also invents activities which combine fun and learning. If the weather is good they go out together to the playground next to the shelter.


It is a very good opportunity for Krystian to learn English and Hungarian. There was an occasion when children burst out laughing when Krystian said “tojás”. But not only Krystian has problems with pronunciation in a foreign language. Sometimes the children and the employees also have similar problems, but they still try to understand each other even if Krystian uses Polish.

The indoor location of the programs for children at the shelter

Polish is a new language for children and they are interested in it. During the activities some children tell a word to Krystian in Hungarian and ask him for the Polish translation. In this activity body language has an important role. Children are interested in learning English as well. For most of them the contact with Krystian is the first time that they can speak in English. They have the opportunity to practice the language.

Krystian feels that he changes the life of children until some extent. He can fool around with them and make them smile. He makes the world more colourful and various for them. You can also try to make this world better. Lots of people are waiting for it.

Natalia Puchajda