Johanna Laszlo – spring fellow from Hungary
Johanna Laszlo works as a Program Manager at the Hungarian Anti-Poverty Network (HAPN) 10-year-old NGO, which aim is to support the interest representation and democratic social participation of people experiencing poverty. Ms. Laszlo’s task is to organize campaigns related to income poverty by activating people experiencing poverty (unemployed people, homeless people or people with instable housing, Roma people) and their potential allies (citizens, scolars, students, formal and informal groups). She is also the contact person between EAPN and HAPN as a member of EAPN’s operative subgroup called EUISG (European Union Inclusion Strategic Group). Besides her job at HAPN she is also a volunteer at Kontur Association which is an organization dedicated to social inclusion – currently working at Hős Str. Budapest, a Roma settlement of the capital city.
As a countrywide network and an umbrella organization HAPN has various membership including both individuals and NGOs. HAPN is also a member of the European Anti-Poverty Network which is the umbrella organization of the the same issues on a European level. The target group of HAPN is people experiencing poverty which is a multi-layered group characterized by several features such as social status (unemployment, homelessness), age (child poverty, poverty of elderly people) and ethnicity (Roma people, immigrants).
Ms. Laszlo has an MA Degree in Social Work at the ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences, and also she is a Ph.D. student majoring in Social Work and Social Politics (ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences). During her studies for 3 years she was a volunteer at the ELTE University program dedicated to the inclusion of young people with a criminal record where the Roma youth were overrepresented. As a student she was a Social Worker trainee at the Office of Justice, Budapest working with young offenders.
Ms. Laszlo also had working practice at the Family Welfare Centre (XV. district, Budapest) and in Denmark at an NGO called KVINFO’s Mentor network working with mentoring immigrant women. As a Ph.D. student Ms. Laszlo spent one semester at Freie University (Berlin, Germany) studying social movements and direct actions. Besides her university studies Ms. Laszlo finished various trainings related to the field of social work such as the training of Kompania Foundation about how to facilitate a peer-group of teenagers having problems with aggression, self-esteem, drugs to be able to change, and community work.
Before her current job at HAPN, Ms. Laszlo formerly worked for the Regional Social Welfare Resource Centre in Budapest (organization dedicated to social innovations) and as a Freelance Expert in projects doing project coordinating, working with groups as a Social worker, developing training materials, mentoring, providing trainings for high school children. She taught at ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences in the MA education of social workers. As an activist it is very important for her to improve her knowledge in organizing. She was one of the founders of Uj Szemlelet (New Approach), a non-formal action group of social workers which was active at the beginning of the 2010s by organizing campaigns focusing on social justice.
Ms. Laszlo’s mother tongue is Hungarian, and she is fluent in English using it as a working language too.
Ms. Laszlo has never been in the U.S. Working at HAPN she is specially interested in the work of networks focusing on oppressed people whether this oppression is caused by poverty, ethnicity or both. As a structural social problem she finds it crucial to look at poverty as a macro-level, societal problem rather than an individual and avoid labeling but support by empowering. Community organizing can provide a wide choice of tools for this empowerment.
In her spare time Ms. Laszlo loves walking and reading.
Johanna Laszlo will have her internship at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.