After 9 months of being housed at St. Columba’s Scottish Mission in Budapest, Kalunba is preparing to move into an office space of it’s own. A contract has been signed, boxes are being packed, repairs are being made, and the process is under way.
The Kalunba team has been hard at work the past few weeks cleaning, painting, and sprucing up the space – steadfast volunteers have given their afternoons, evenings, and even weekends to make sure that the new office is ready to open as soon as possible.
The new building is located near Blaha Lujza tér, a prominent square on the 4/6 tram line and a major stop on the M2 line of the Budapest Metro. The space is also quite large, able to accommodate offices, a kids playroom, a spacious meeting room, as well as multiple classrooms.
The staff at Kalunba is absolutely thrilled about soon being able to move and settle in to the space. Many of the activities that they used to run were put on hold when they moved into the space at St. Columba’s simply due to space restraints; in the new building, however, many of these things may be started up again as people are more spread out and there are spaces set aside for various activities.
“I love the space and I’m so curious to see it all finished. I really want, after four years [of working in this field], my own table in a classroom that is only mine – just for my classes and me. There we will have enough space for everyone to learn and speak in private and it will be so good!” said Rita Gulyas, a sociologist and teacher at Kalunba.
Miriam Buffa, an EVS volunteer, jumped in and added that, “It’s the winds of change – this new space. It symbolizes new beginnings and it brings fresh opportunities and hope for Kalunba.”
This sentiment is shared with many others, including Lutfa, whose family, originally from Bangladesh, was helped by the Kalunba founders many years ago when they first came to Budapest. “There will be enough space for everything there,” she says. “The old community center we had and this space at the church are nice, but they’re kind of dark. The daylight at the new space really makes it inviting,” she says, referencing that one whole wall of the new office is filled with windows. “It’s not what we had before, but I’m excited!”
Janka Megyesi, a Hungarian as a foreign language teacher at Kalunba, agrees with Lutfa and adds that, “There are so many rooms there and it’s going to be much more comfortable for all of us.”
The excitement continues to build for the Kalunba crew with each passing day; they’re most eager to move and begin filling the space with the familiar sounds and sights of the friendly clientele that so often populate their current set-up in the church. Having a space large enough to hold all these people will be a blessing for the hardworking Kalunba staff – one that’s been a long time coming!
Article by Kearstin Bailey