CZ / EN

Slovo 21, z. s.


Socially Disadvantaged Groups

Family Next Door - building relations between foreigners and the majority population

The project “The Family Next Door” has been shown to be an effective, unique instrument for integrating foreign nationals, not only in the Czech Republic, but also abroad. The project aims to improve relations between foreign nationals and the majority population, building a multicultural society and mutual understanding between different cultures. A total of 1 550 Czech families and families of third-country foreign nationals had lunch together over the duration of the project. One family prepares lunch for the other, whom they are meeting for the first time, and invite them to their homes. Families will be able to taste traditional specialties, talk about culture, traditions, and life, and also make new contacts.

we started on 2017-10-20
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Personal story

I believe that nothing in life is random and that we are always in the right place at the right time. If somebody had told me 20 years ago that I would end up living in the Czech Republic, where I would find lifelong friends, certainly I would have told them that such things only happen in movies with really great scripts.

One day, thanks to the Family Next Door project, my husband and I visited a Czech family, the Fousteks. I had applied to the project because I love getting to know new people, customs that are new to me, and all kinds of different things, and I told myself the project would be a new page in the book of my life. All we knew was that the project was about artists, so we brought two guitars with us. I traveled by train in the Czech Republic for the first time in my life and we went to Černošice. I was a bit nervous, but when our hosts opened the door, the fragrance and warmth of a home greeted us. They welcomed us with the smiles they always had whenever we met them and that they still have to do this day. It was a beautiful experience, we had a lot in common – music, art and food. Over a typical Czech lunch we talked and got to know each other better, and then we all played the guitar and sang.

After that lunch we saw each other many more times, but most frequently I met with Alena. We went to exhibitions and out for coffee, we just sat and chatted. Then my life headed in an absolutely different direction and it was time to divorce. My husband and I had owned a business together, it all fell apart, and I was left without a job, without anything. In such a situation a person finds it difficult to turn to anybody else for aid. I had no self-confidence, no strength, and I desperately needed a job. I wrote several e-mails to people, and one of them was to Alena. She immediately answered that I can rely on her and that she would assist me. Because I am a professional stylist, I was already filming advertisements within a week , all of it thanks to Alena. I do not know how to express what I feel, whether to call it gratitude or luck, but the Family Next Door project appeared in my life just to bring me the Foustek family and Mrs Alena, who is now my best friend and soul mate.

I believe it is necessary to go into the unknown, one must not fear it. On the Sunday when those lunches were happening we could have stayed at home and been lazy, we could have been afraid of those people whom we didn’t know, but thank God it turned out the way it did.

Sanja
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