Crisis-hit Hungarians reach out to the needy online

Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:31am EST
 
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By Krisztina Than

BUDAPEST (Reuters Life!) - Istvan Joos in Hungary believes the economic crisis which hit the world and his country actually had a positive side: it revived an urge in people to value togetherness and help others in need.

Joos started off a non-profit website called "favours" (www.szivesseg.net) in 2008, just after Hungary narrowly escaped financial meltdown with international aid. The website connects people who need help with others who have something to offer.

People registered on the site ask for food, for baby clothes, for appliances like washing machines, or in many cases simply for a job. Few asked directly for money.

One of the latest requests logged on January 28 comes from a family with children in eastern Hungary asking for a stove or fireplace as water freezes in their kitchen.

Joos believes the economic crisis, however painful it is, has forced many people to make changes in their lives.

"People connect, they pull closer together and I think this is definitely a value," he said.

"It forces people to rely more on each other and therefore strengthens this kind of social responsibility."

Joos, who started off a successful IT business in the late 1990s, saw his own life change radically a couple of years ago when his business failed.   Continued...