Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 4: Halfway there


LaCourtney's here! 

Well let me first say, This has been such an amazing journey and experience thus far. I'm so happy that we are able share these with you.

I'm a Senior studying Business Administration with an anticipated graduation date of May 2013. With that being said, time is winding down fast. Which brings me to one of the reasons of why I chose this program. There are so many amazing opportunities available to us, and I only had scratched the surface. The chances of me having an opportunity like this again are slim. So...Y.O.L.O! My main interest in this stemmed from social issues related to education, children's health, and lack of opportunities for mentally handicapped individuals. Wanting to start my own social enterprise one day, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity learn how these enterprises operate with an international perspective. 

This past Tuesday we got the opportunity to hear a lecture from Eva Kuti. If you want to know anything about Hungary's NGO sector, Eva is the person to talk to. Eva worked for the Central Statistical Office and the Economic Research Institute where her research focused on the non profit sector of Hungary. The knowledge she provided us with gave us a deeper understanding of what environment these organizations operate in. We are truly grateful to have received her views and insights. 

Lenin Statue
In the evening, we took a bus to an area right outside of Budapest. Here we visited Memento Park aka "Communist Land". After the fall of communism, all of the commie statues were removed and placed here. We had a fun time posing with and imitating them.
Roshni and I

Wednesday I spent my first day interning for Bator Tabor. Bator Tabor offers complex therapeutic recreation programs for children with cancer, diabetes, JRA or hemophilia and their families. I've enjoyed it so far. The people are so lively and you can see that they are passionate and love what they do. Near the end of the program, I will share more about my work and experience with them. For now check out their website here

On Thursday, Malcolm Hayday, the CEO of Charity Bank came to speak with us. Charity Bank, UK based, finances social enterprises, charities and community organizations. Charity Bank acts as any other bank except that their depositors and investors use their money to facilitate real social change. Charity Bank also tells you exactly what they do with your money. They give their savers the option to take trips to see projects that are using their money. This brings the savers together in the hope of sparking up new ideas to make social change in communities of their own. I just think this is an amazing concept! Charity Bank believes it can make the biggest impact by staying small.  I believe that statement raises an important point. You can make the greatest impact by focusing all of your energy into one community than allocating it out to ten. BUT...of course every organization's mission is different and decisions should be made accordingly. We were able to enjoy lunch with Malcolm afterwards. It was a pleasure to have him take the time out to speak and have lunch with us. 

Friday was Social Enterprise Day! 

Us with Fruit of Care
NESsT hosted a Social Enterprise Day in Budapest on Friday. NeSsT is an organization geared to solving critical social problems in emerging market countries by supporting social enterprises.  Social Enterprise Day brings together leaders from social enterprise, government, philanthropy, business and the nonprofit sectors to celebrate social enterprise and to create an enabling environment that fosters social enterprise.

Leaders of social enterprises were able to come together to discuss their views and insights on being successful, social impact, and challenges faced within their organizations. 2011 was a difficult year for social enterprises in Hungary. It was interesting to hear about the issues  they experienced and the steps they have taken to remediate them. During the break, some of the social enterprises had booths set up with their products for sell to support their social cause.
I got these awesome earrings
Here are a few of the social enterprises that were there. You can buy their products online!

There is so much more to come! Thanks for all of the support, and please continue to follow us in this journey. Also, feel free to comment and ask questions.

Where does the Budapest 2012 Study Abroad group go next? IDK! You have to keep reading our blog to see ;-). 

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