Our mission is to build a highly responsive, innovative and committed support organization ready to respond to practical problems with practical solutions, and to do so with maximum efficiency. By giving the highest standard of care at the moment when most needed, we strive to create lasting values and foster our client’s ability to manage their everyday lives.
Kalunba was founded in Spring 2014 by the following professionals:
- Dóra Kanizsai-Nagy
- Balázs Acsai
- Zsuzsanna Szászi-Lukács
Dóra Kanizsai-Nagy has a degree in International Relations and began her career in think tanks, focusing on energy policy and democracy. Since 2008, she has served with the Reformed Church in Hungary in various capacities – first as a project manager and later as the head of the RCH’s Refugee Ministry. In 2013 she received the award for equal opportunities by the Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog.
In 2014 she co-founded the Kalunba Social Services Association, an NGO that now actively serves refugees in Budapest. Dóra and her team work towards helping their clientele in both the short and long term, providing services such as housing assistance, employment, schooling programs, language lessons, as well as community building opportunities. “Since the beginning, it has been vital for to me to actively search for the ways in which we can provide practical help for those turning to us. It is very important for me to show how the church and congregations can apply abstract theological values in a practical sense,” says Dóra, when describing her work. She aims to provide concrete and practical help to the population that it serves so that their clients might lead more full, well rounded, and independent lives as productive and valuable members of society.
Balázs Acsai graduated with his Masters degree in Theology from the Reformed Theological Seminary of Sárospatak. After seminary, he got married and moved to his wife, Edith’s, native country of Transylvania where he worked as a missionary. Upon the birth of their first child, the two moved back to Hungary. In 2009, he started to work as a social worker in a reception center for refugees and in 2011 he was invited to join the Housing Program team of the Reformed Church in Hungary’s Refugee Ministry where he significantly improved the structure of services offered.
Balázs is a proud and passionate farmer and runs a family business on his land. His vision is to eventually merge his two passions: helping refugees and farming, and he dreams of a social enterprise where refugees can work on the land and produce quality fair trade products. When asked to describe the core of his work, Balázs says “The structure of our ministry creates the basis for a platform where the church and refugees can meet, and so we build bridges.”
Zsuzsanna Szászi-Lukács received her Masters in Hungarian Language and Literature and her certification as a Hungarian as a foreign language teacher from Eötvös Loránd University. After she graduated, Zsuzsanna immediately began working in the Bicske refugee center and quickly became invested in her work there with refugee populations. “It was not just work or a job to me – it became my mission. It’s about knowing another culture and having a connection with the people,” she said, when asked about her work there. Zsuzsanna realized that helping refugees was her calling in life, her vocation, and so after two years at Bicske she went to work in an orphanage in Fót, Hungary that was responsible for caring for unaccompanied minors that crossed into Hungary. During her time at the orphanage, Zsuzsanna was responsible not only for teaching Hungarian to the youth, but she also organized free-time activities for them to pass the time.
It was in this setting that she met Dóra and Balázs through their work with the school integration project and she worked with them at Kalunba from 2014 to 2017. In her lessons she aimed to provide the same teaching system for refugees that others in Hungary receive. She sought to teach high-level language lessons that were powerful for people to engage and connect with. “I wanted to do really big things in this field – I want to make changes – I’m so glad to have met Dóra and Balázs because we have the same purpose and working style with refugees,” said Zsuzsanna about her work at Kalunba. In the winter of 2017, Zsuzsanna decided to take some time away from Kalunba in order to better support her family as her wonderful son prepares for his first year of school. The whole staff at Kalunba is thankful to have had her for three wonderful years and we wish her and her beautiful family all the best!