CCH welcomes organizing fellows from Hungary


From left, Alexandra Szarka and Fanni Aradi

This week, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) welcomed two Hungarian organizing fellows. Alexandra Szarka and Fanni Aradi will spend four weeks training with CCH organizers and community leaders.

Sponsored by the Great Lakes Consortium (GLC) for International Training and Development, the organizing exchange trades community organizers from the U.S. and Central Europe each year.

Through the program, Senior Community Organizer Rachel Ramirez offered trainings last month in Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Senior Community Organizer  Jim Picchetti will travel to Hungary and Slovakia to offer trainings in February. CCH has sent organizers abroad for five trainings and hosted 11 interns through the GLC program.

Fanni has volunteered at “City is for All” for two years as an advocate for housing rights for and alongside homeless people. For the past year, Fanni has studied sociology at the University of Pecs.

She began her activism at age 15, participating in her town’s Occupy Movement, but has been an advocate from a young age because of her activist mother. Since then, Fanni’s activism has primarily been on anti-governmental demonstrations and protests. Over the years, Fanni has participated in volunteer training sessions on community development and organizing, as well as “green” activism.

Alexandra also has worked with City is for All for two years,  serving as a social worker for disadvantaged and minority groups. She is leading a project to increase a number of public restrooms in Budapest to aid homeless people, in addition to her work at a non-governmental organization (NGO), Kretakor Foundation.

Alexandra works at a second NGO, “Equal Opportunities in the Schoolbench,” to create afterschool programs for underprivileged students. Previously, she mentored children at a child welfare center in Budapest and volunteered at a juvenile center.

On Monday and Tuesday, CCH organizers helped train 18 Central European program participants. After training, participants departed for assignments with organizing groups in other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, New Orleans, Boston, and Charleston.

For the program’s duration, Fanni and Alexandra will train with Jim through CCH’s Statewide Network.

– Cydney Salvador, Media Intern