Hostel for Parents
We have been running an accommodation facility for parents whose children are being hospitalised in Motol Hospital, Prague, since 1993. The hostel is located within the hospital area and consists of several (originally unused and unfurnished) rooms which were lent to our Foundation by the hospital authorities.
The parents' hostel was originally intended as a temporary stop-gap facility for 8 parents; we hoped the hospital would soon provide us with a better place where a more permanent and more decent family centre could come into being. Members of the hospital's top- management, however, have changed several times - unfortunately, we haven't been receiving much understanding and support from them for the last fifteen years. This, quite understandably, makes our work rather hard and our hostel's situation fairly unstable.
Despite cramped conditions, parents of hospitalised children find the place very important and there is greater demand for accommodation than we can meet. The rooms are sufficiently furnished and people staying at the hostel can use a fridge, a washing machine, an iron with ironing board and do have also other useful things at their disposal - e.g. books to read, tapes to listen, city maps to find their way in Prague...
We are in touch with several psychologists, social workers, priests and lawyers who have offered their free help to parents in need - this also is a part of our hostel's "service".
Well over 6.000 parents (as well as grandparents, siblings etc.) have already found very cheap accommodation there. Under rather modest conditions (8-10 regular beds and 2-6 provisional beds in 4 rooms, common kitchen, lavatory and bathroom shared by all the inhabitants), the parents live here for several days, weeks or even months. Most parents come back repeatedly.
At times, the hostel happens to be the only place within the hospital where some families can meet again and be together - at least for a short while.
The hostel is maintained and run on a self-help basis. Parents staying there do just contribute to the hostel's running costs (30,- CZK per night) and share the chores.
Our Foundation's long-term goal is to establish an urgently needed permanent hostel and a family center where the families can find affordable accommodation and a home-away-from-home while their children undergo hospital treatment. Our hope is to set up a place that would provide relatives of pediatric in-patients (as well as out-patients, to some extent) with a warm and supportive environment and all sorts of additional facilities they may need; e.g. a chapel, gymnasium, playroom, library...
In August 2008, we launched a new campaign "Parents Help Themselves" in support of the new project. All the people who have used the hostel so far have been asked for their active help.