The My Budapest Photo Project, the  photo contest of Budapest Bike Maffia provides an opportunity for homeless creators to make themselves heard. In 2019 we have launched the 4th season of this project and visited a new shelter as well, to include their residents. We spoke with Linda Bereczki, the head of the Madrid Street Red Cross homeless hostel.

Does the Madrid Street shelter have any special features? Who are coming to you? What forms of care do you practice?

Our institute operates under the care of the Hungarian Red Cross. We consider it important to help those who slipped into homelessness for a shorter or longer period of time. This is an integrated institution which provides street care, serves as a daytime warming center, soup-kitchen, night shelter, temporary accomodation and rehabilitation facility, and we also have two exit apartments. We serve around  250-300 people daily. It might sound like a cliché but we believe that everyone who comes to us deserves a chance / help, and the wide range of our services lets people move at their own pace through all the steps necessary to get reintegrated back into society. A special mention should be made of our rehabilitation institution which is for people who are serious in their intenitions to – with some help – escape their homelessness and become full fledged citizens again.

When did you first become acquainted with Budapest Bike Mafia? What kind of collaborative projects did you have with us so far?

We have been avare ot the activities of Budapest Bike Mafia for a while now, and on several occasions our residents have received delicious food prepared by your organization. Then one of our colleagues have directed our attention to a new initiative: Seeds for Hope, wherein we could grow vegetables in our garden with the help of our residents. This project was implemented by Budapest Bike Mafia at several homeless shelters, including ours. Seeds grown into seedlings were planted with the help of the inhabitants in the shelter’s yard, creating a small garden that we can tend to together as a club activity. The vegetables that we grow there are consumed by our residents, increasing their intake of necessary and important nutrients and vitamins. We think this is a great idea which encourages the men to do some activities which make them feel useful and lets them enjoy the fruits (well…vegetables ) of their efforts.

This is your first time participating in the My Budapest Photo Project as partners. What is your experience? Why is an art project, a photo contest for the shelter’s residents important?

Honestly, we were quite nervous, letting a completely new project in. But we have talked a lot with the men before the cameras were handed out, and we have seen that this has seemed like an interesting opportunity for basically any of them, from young to elderly. I think it is important to bring forth projects that coax out roles that might have long been forgotten; which relegates their homelessness to the back of their minds and instead lets them be men, fathers, grandfathers, art lovers or even artists again.

And of course, and not least of all: which lets them be regular people…

We are grateful for the opportunity, and hope we get to work together on other projects in the future!

We are grateful too!