Szamanta Judit Varga’s Reflections on – Tatabánya –Mésztelep, Hungary
Szamanta Judit Varga, Winning Buvero participant went to Tatabánya –Mésztelep and talked to the inhabitants, here are her reflections on the situations of the people who live there:
As we arrived, we found a bleak environment, and children playing frantically. The settlement reflected a shocking duality. It was hard to find a family willing to discuss how they were preparing for school in front of a camera. Many among them explained that they are only speaking off record, because they are afraid of the Youth Welfare Office and of the gossips. They are ashamed of their destinies… and of the way they live.
A young mother of two told us she does everything to provide her children with a different sort of life than the one she had. Her 16 year-old daughter learns typewriting and her 11 year-old son goes to school in the city, so that he can get a better education under more civilized circumstances. The mother is unemployed since last November and her partner has been working for a few days. They take any job they find, so that they can afford the school supplies and other necessities for the children. “We managed to arrange the free schoolbook package.” – said the mother with relief. We talked about the future possibilities of the children. “My son is an excellent student.” She said full of hope and trust regarding the future.
Unfortunately, so far we have not seen such success stories at Mésztelep. The poverty is much greater, and the people are far more desperate. Most of the families shared negative experiences. There are no jobs, there is nothing whatsoever. They live under enormous pressure; it is a grave issue for them to buy the school supplies, or even to survive from one day to the other. They would work, but no one hires them. They feel excluded, not only because of their origins, but also because of where they live.
A barely 16 year-old boy told us: “Mésztelep is the disgrace of Tatbánya… they call it the ghetto district.” It is quite sad to listen to a young boy talking about unemployment, and of the wits he has to pull in order to help his family. With this sentence he put the icing on the cake. Society shouldn’t allow for someone who wants to work, to end up like this.
by Szamanta Judit Varga