In the aftermath of the tornado that struck South Moravia in June a wave of solidarity swept across the Czech Republic. And Masaryk University was there to lend a helping hand. Only hours after the natural disaster occurred, MU’s volunteer centre, MUNI HELPS, sent volunteers to the affected area. For several months afterward the centre coordinated volunteer activities in Moravská Nová Ves, Mikulčice, Lužice, Hodonín, and Hrušky.
People cleaned out debris, packed food, offered psychological counselling, and provided childcare services. The volunteer centre also organized volunteer trips over the holidays to clean up the area around the villages and in vineyards. During the summer, Masaryk University also ran a fundraising campaign that collected one million crowns on a transparent bank account.
“I would like to earnestly thank everyone who contributed to our fundraising efforts and in doing so helped those in need. And of course, I thank everyone who volunteered, or is still volunteering, in the affected villages. Last year, during the coronavirus crisis Masaryk University demonstrated that it is a socially responsible institution. It was at that time that we established the Masaryk University Volunteer Centre, which gained great recognition and did much commendable work in a year and a half. I am very glad that in Hrušky we can now provide financial aid for education, because education is and always will be critical for the future of this country,” says MU rector Martin Bareš.
The cheque was received by the mayor of Hrušky, Jana Filipovičová, and the school’s director, Svatava Bradávková. “The school is still not open. The children from all five grades are attending school in neighbouring Tvrdonice, so we are grateful for every donation. We will of course apply for grants from various programmes to do next year’s major repair work necessary for reopening the school, that is, to fix the roofs, windows, facades, and floors. But we also have to co-finance a part of it. And that is what we will use this money from Masaryk University for,” says village mayor Jana Filipovičová.
Collaborating with elementary and secondary schools has been one of Masaryk University’s priorities for the last several years. Therefore, MU naturally decided to provide aid to one school that was damaged in the tornado. In addition to the cheque, Masaryk University also gave the elementary school students from Hrušky vouchers to attend the Bioskop learning programme. The children of Hrušky will have the opportunity to visit Masaryk University’s scientific teaching centre and its laboratory and take an unconventional course full of interesting experiments.
The centre is still coordinating volunteer work in the affected area. Last weekend volunteers helped restore the park in Mikulčice and the gardens of local inhabitants to their pre-tornado conditions. “Anyone who feels like helping out can sign up in the MUNI HELPS app,” says Daniela Niebauerová, the volunteer centre’s coordinator.
Video of the elementary school in Hrušky that shows the school before and after the tornado.