The activities and projects of Budapest Bike Maffia are realized through the enthusiastic and tireless work of our volunteers. To help you get to know them better, they will introduce themselves in short interviews and tell a few stories about their volunteering experiences.
Photo by: István Juhász
Orsi Tapasztó has joined Budapest Bike Maffia a year ago. After the summer break, at the start of September, she will resume work as coordinator of our +1XTRA program with a team of school lecturers.
Many are already familiar with the +1 sandwich school project of Budapest Bike Maffia. You volunteer to coordinate another branch of the school programs. What exactly is this program and what is your task within it?
About a year ago, a team of lecturers has come together to provide senzitizing training to students of different ages about homelessness, about turning towards each other, the work of BBM, and of course about the opportunities to join our work.
My job is to coordinate this process, so the inquiries of schools come to me, I am the link between them and the lecturers and the one who has to make sure that everything runs smoothly so that schools and lecturers can focus on the important things.
You are still relatively new to Budapest Bike Maffia, but you have volunteered before. When did you join the team and what has attracted you to volunteering?
I have initially joined the team of Bike Maffia in the fall of 2018, and started getting more involved in the work from this spring.
Volunteering has been a part of my life for a few years now, when something has clicked in my head that: okay, up till now I could look at things from afar but now i have to actually do something about what is happening around us – as an average citizen volunteering is the activity that enables you to do something right away. I’ve been keeping an eye on BBM’s diverse projects and activities, their continuous progress and Zoli and his team’s work for years and I’m happy to be able to participate in it now.
Did volunteering bring any change, any experience you didn’t expect that surprised you?
Volunteering toughens up a person when it comes to their relationship with homelessness.
If you often have to deal with something that you’ve only been watching from afar, you learn to look more and more directly into the eyes of a beggar, and as you work, your initial panic and tension will be replaced by a desire to help.
I suspected that I would meet many kindly and helpful people while volunteering, but to be able to form genuine and honest friendships over the age of thirty has been a very pleasant result of this work.
Last but not least, volunteers may finds themselves in situations that bring out abilities unknown even to them. As a physicist, I would never have thought that I would be able to organize events, raise money, or write tenders for such a cause. Of course, this requires an organization that provides a supportive environment for the process.
The program aims to sensitize young people, promote volunteering, and build a community of students, parents, and educators in our +1 Sandwich program that is able to think together about what we can do for ourselves and for others. The first step of this is an approximately 1.5 hour interactive lecture where we present the work of Budapest Bike Maffia and discuss prejudices through the topic of homelessness.
If you would like to invite our school sensitization lecturers to give a presentation, please contact Orsi!