The CEMS MIM programme at VSE now offers its students a fantastic possibility to make somebody’s life a little bit brighter – be it an orphaned child or someone who is very ill. At the hospice in Čerčany , where palliative care for seriously ill people is offered, not only physical pain needs to be taken care of, but great attention is also paid to emotional and spiritual needs of a person. Students witness the daily routine of patients and help them with everyday activities – cleaning, eating, walking. What is greatly appreciated particularly by the older patients – is students’ attention and interest their life. Just an opportunity to talk to someone and a feeling of being taken care of makes all the difference.
Tomas Slavata, a Czech athlete with a very special path, is also working with CEMS students. Coming from a difficult family background, he became a foster parent of his nephews when he was 21 – even younger than most CEMS students. Since then, Tomas has put a huge effort towards supporting orphanages in the Czech Republic. Tomas and his spouse Pavlina are travelling to orphanages all over the country, bringing international students to meet children and inspire them. Being a typical CEMSie who travelled half the world, it’s an enormous responsibility to teach these children to study hard by showing them all the opportunities available. To do this, students organized interactive English classes and games in Pardubice, they shared their stories & even stayed the night in Krompach, and they cooked food with kids in Karvina. Language barrier was not a problem, as even the smallest children were glad to teach their new friends some Czech words, thus helping them to prepare for language exams!
These activities are just the beginning of warm long-term relationships, and CEMSies are already coming up with more and more ideas for this subject. Hands-on experience in CSR is very important for future leaders, because it makes you see the world from a different perspective, appreciate many things in your life and reconsider your approach to everyday problems. What is more, it inspires to work even harder to make real effective change happen – even if it is just a smile on one child’s face.
Fellow CEMS student, Jakub Macheta, summed up the experience through a dialogue he had with one of the children:
Child: “You speak in a strange way!”
Me: “Yes, because I am a foreigner. I am from Austria and I am learning Czech”
Child: “Aaah, ok. I am also a foreigner, I am from Ceska Lipa!”
So in the end, we are all foreigners trying to find a home…”