Like millions around the world, CEU alumna Adrija Maitra (GENS ’19, India) felt helpless reading Covid-19 news every day. Finally, she had to do something.
“I realized I must step out and take some sort of positive action,” she said.
In April she answered a call from a Hungarian NGO. Soon she was volunteering in Budapest’s 8th District, delivering hot meals door to door, and putting up coronavirus prevention flyers in buildings throughout the district.
Her motivation: to help those most vulnerable and stigmatized. Jozsefvaros, as the 8th district is known, provided no shortage of opportunity.
From April to the end of May Adrija and her fellow volunteers delivered food and other supplies to financially struggling families and elderly persons in quarantine. Many were unemployed. Most had no personal support network.
“This allowed me to contribute to a cause I’m passionate about,” she said. “In this case, this meant helping those in need.”
Adrija did this on behalf of the Community Participation Office of the Jozsefvaros municipality. She was referred by the Association for the Assistance of Asylum Migrants, an NGO she is associated with. Supplies were provided by local individuals, NGOs, companies, and the municipality itself.
This wasn’t her first time volunteering for those in need. She previously helped provide humanitarian aid on the Greek island of Lesbos to refugees crossing the Aegean Sea. Also during her two years at CEU she volunteered to help the community through various initiatives. It taught her the value of support networks, she said.
And that’s exactly what happened this time in Jozsefvaros, she said. People connected – and reconnected – and established support networks. Volunteers stayed in touch with those they delivered to. Others signed on for additional, non-Covid related projects. See video.
The project ended on May 29. Although she’s about to start a new job, Adrija said she’ll be right back out there if and when the municipality needs volunteers again. She encouraged her fellow alumni to get involved and help too, in Budapest or anywhere else in the world.
“It might seem difficult at first,” she said. “But once you get started, you’ll see how gratifying it is to contribute to a cause you genuinely care about. Moreover, you’ll encounter new people, expand your network and grow along the way.”
We couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Adrija!