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Interview with Szidonia Macsek and Julia Babicsuk, Caritas directors

2014. February

Szidonia Macsek and Julia Babicsuk,
Caritas directors

In our column of Transcarpathian charitable organizations and directors of Caritas this time you can read about the director of Caritas in Kobylecka Polyana - Szidonia Macsek, and the director of Caritas in Velykij Bychkiv - Julia Babicsuk.

– Dear Szidonia, tell us about your family, childhood, studies…

– Szidonia Macsek: I was born in 1937 in Kobylecka Polyana during the czech time. My father was an engine driver. I was born in a big family, I had four sisters. I finished 10 classes. We experienced lots of difficulties during the war and the years following it…

– How and when was the Caritas founded in Kobylecka Polyana?

– Sz.M: I got retired in 1992. In 1997 father Imre Ferencz served in Kobylecka Polyana as a priest. It was his idea to create a Caritas in our village. He chose a group and I became its leader.

In 1999 we opened a free kitchen for poor children, as there are quite a lot of families who need it. Kobylecka Polyana is in the highlands, there isn’t much employment here. It’s not worth to deal with agriculture as well, because the fruit and vegetables don’t grow. There are not many meadows so there is not much benefit from keeping animals too.

– What is the age of the kids who eat in the free kitchen?

– Sz.M.: the children who come to eat are between the ages of 6 and 15. They are half-orphans, poor kids and those who come from big families.

– What is the situation with the families in the mountains?

– Sz.M.: The big problem for them is unemployment. There are hardly any opportunities for work: in the 12-bed hospital, in school, in the post-office and in the village hall. Some people work in the forestry. Many people go to work abroad.

The Hungarian language teaching is functioning here. Two teachers work with 40 children every Tuesday and Thursday. The kindergarten provides a room for these classes. The children present dances, poems and performances for feasts.

– Julia, will you also introduce yourself? Tell us about your previous life, your family!

–Julia Babicsuk: I was born in 1945. My mother worked in a drugstore. I went to school when I was 7. It was a Ukrainian class, because at that time there wasn’t a Hungarian school in Velykij Bychkiv. At the age of 18 I married a Ukrainian boy, who spoke Hungarian well. After that I worked in a factory. When I was 22 I had an opportunity to study at the Forestry Academy.

– Except the above mentioned what else belonged to the activities of Caritas?

– J B.: We received aid shipments, distributed donations to those in need. The head of the kindergarten is also teaching Hungarian language to about 30 schoolchildren.

– What is the situation with the families in Velykij Bychkiv?

– J.B.: Just the woodworking industry is functioning here. A great part of the villagers work abroad, and because of this many families become destroyed.

The interview was made
by Szabolcs Bunda







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