Romani residents of Czech town organize collection for child welfare NGO to fight COVID-19, dozens pitch in
Romani residents of Bílina, Czech Republic have joined one of the many aid drives underway during the COVID-19 pandemic. Barber Emil Karička, a Romani community member, organized a collection of much-needed materials for the branch of the Klokánek project in Teplice.
Klokánek ("Little Kangaroo") is a project of the Fund for At-Risk Children (FOD) that provides temporary foster family care to children instead of institutional care until they can either return to their birth family or be adopted. "The director of Klokánek, Daniela Brníková, and I know each other, we have been collaborating together for some time, and when I called her to ask whether they needed any aid with anything, I found out that not only do the children not have face masks, but that disinfectant is also lacking, and that the facility currently is also having a problem with receiving financing from the state," Karička told news server Romea.cz.
"I immediately decided to do something about that," Karička said. He asked both his friends and the general public for aid through Facebook.
Over the course of several days, dozens joined the effort. "We have put together an enormous amount of things - face masks, groceries, hygienic supplies," Dušan Karchňák, who has long worked with Karička in a group of Romani volunteers in the town, told Romea.cz.
"Some people brought money, some did the shopping, everybody did what they could," Karchňák said. His brother, Jozef Karchňák, got involved organizing transportation and delivery of the items for pickup at the Kyselka park in Bílina.
So much material was donated that the delivery could not take place at the Klokánek building. "There are some superheroes living in Bílina!" the Klokánek representatives posted to Facebook in a video.
"When Mr Karička got the idea of organizing a collection of groceries, face masks and drugstore supplies at this difficult time, he eventually activated the Romani community throughout the Ústecký Region. Many people joined from Teplice, Nový Bor, Česká Lípa," Klokánek posted.
"We thank all who were involved," the NGO project said on social media. According to Karička, those involved include a church warden in Teplice, small business owners, Romani residents of a housing estate, and both non-Romani and Romani members of the public.
The first person to contribute was the local owner of a kebab shop who donated CZK 3 000 (EUR 110) for disinfectants. "I found out from the director a couple of days ago that the Mayor of Teplice and the representatives of the municipal authority in Bílina have also called her and they are also giving them face masks," Karička said.
"I am very glad about that, it's exactly what I wanted to see, that as many people as possible get involved. I would like to thank Marek Fráter of Teplice for his aid, and Mr Rudolf Baláž, who made it possible for his salon to be used as a collection point for the aid," Karička said.
"Romani people also know how to provide assistance in a difficult situation," Karička told news server Romea.cz. He is planning to organize another wave of aid for 10 May.
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