June 29, 2016
Since 2009, House of Change (a program of Moldovan organization, Beginning of Life) has served as a rehabilitation and reintegration center for victims of human trafficking in Moldova. This month, six of our colleagues from House of Change came from Moldova’s capital, Chișinău, to the Czech Republic to see how similar organizations work with children and young people in the Czech Republic.
Youth Drop-In Center
On Wednesday, June 15 we traveled to Brno, Czech Republic and visited Ratolest (The Twig). Ratolest is an organization helping young people resolve their difficult life situations. We spoke with social workers Zuzana Gheza, Barbora Reichlová and Michaela Večerková at Ratolest’s Pavlač (The Porch) Drop-In Club about their work in a socially excluded location. Challenging social and financial situations, high crime rates, drug use, and unemployment are all topics very familiar to our Moldavan colleagues; they were certainly engaged and attentive.
On Thursday, we met with Jakub Kulhánek, the leader of Ymkárium, a club for at-risk youth which is a program of the YMCA in Prague. He told us what urban work is all about: teaching youth safe lifestyles, cooperating with the community, and enforcing strict rules in its center.
Salesian Youth Center in Prague works under the motto: “So youth want to live happily.” There, we met Jan Vališ, the leader of Vrtule (The Propeller). Club Vrtule is a safe place where youth spend their free time and may seek advice or help. The only requirements for participants entering the club are they must respect others and obey the club rules. At the center, we learned about Salesian pedagogical methods and guidelines for working with youth.
Refuge for Victims of Human Trafficking
On Friday, we visited The Center of National Programs and Services. While there, our Moldovan colleagues shared their experiences with human trafficking with Barbora Krucká. They had much to share from their wealth of knowledge of the issue.
Club for At-Risk Youth
In the afternoon, we headed to Žižkov and visited Club Beztíže (The Weightlessness). Beztíže belongs to Ulita (The Shell), a center for the children and youth in district 3 of Prague. The center operates two clubs
and three field programs for at-risk youth (ages 6-26). Beztíže’s director, Tomáš Klumpar, showed us the club’s meeting area as well as its ceramic workshop and playground. To end the day, he told us about their methods for working with at-risk youth.
We thank all the people working for the organizations mentioned above for their cooperation. And we thank our colleagues and volunteers for a wonderful Tuesday dinner. Whether speaking in Czech, Moldovan, English, or Russian, everyone was able to enjoy one another’s company.
We send you thanks from our enthusiastic Moldavian friends, as well!