Cheb: Dnes já, zítra ty (Czech)

To keep the sky from falling – Remarkable stories of human unity


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The Klubíčko maternity center in Cheb has been helping families for more than 20 years. Fatima Rahimi went to Cheb to see Martina Paboučková, who runs the center. It is around her that a group is formed that can flexibly offer locals and visitors what is needed. Listen to the story of a community where hope thrives, for children and adults alike. 

The Klubíčko maternity center has existed in Cheb since 2000 and focuses on helping families. Its task is to provide social services, but there is much more going on in it. Its foundation is a community that is able to respond flexibly to newly emerging needs and situations. Among the extraordinary situations last year in Cheb was the arrival of a large number of people from Ukraine who had to leave their homes because of the war. MC Klubíčko takes care of 2,000 of them today. The new podcast from the International Organization for Migration about the hidden power of our communities is also devoted to this story from Cheb.

Martina Paboučková has been running the Klubíčko kindergarten since 2015. Before that, she was a hotel manager and, as she recalls, she would not return to this business-oriented job. The social sector, which is hard to do without enthusiastic and motivated people, is much closer to her. This is also true of Kata Filip and Sabina Pavlačka, her close colleagues, with whom she forms a well-functioning trio behind the extensive coordinated aid to Ukrainian refugees throughout Cheb.

Katya Filip and Sabina Pavlačka help the newcomers in orientation, which they themselves know can be challenging. They accompany them to the offices, to the doctor, help them find a job or a place in a kindergarten, and directly organize courses on employment law and tenancy relations. Katya had her own children's centre in Ukraine and Sabina, originally from Uzbekistan, pays to be the person who can sort out and arrange anything. "Sabina is faster than light. I feel like if I need a helicopter, she'll make two phone calls and she'll land on the sidewalk next door," says Martina Paboučková, describing Sabina's role. "Katya is a person who, wherever she stands, a thousand people follow her. She is a liaison officer for the Ukrainian community," she adds about Katerina. 

According to Paboučková, Klubíčko has the advantage that as a nonprofit organization it can respond relatively well to current situations. "When there was a covid, for example, we used to babysit for critical infrastructure or sew drapes. Now this situation has come up again, so we've basically just expanded our team so that we can support the people who come here," Paboučková explains.

In addition to other employees, the Club also includes a host of willing volunteers who help with whatever is needed. Someone new is always coming in with a willingness to help and they give space to each and every one of them. By the very principle of the work of the maternity centre, mothers with children come here. Although they primarily come to talk among themselves and play with the children, their involvement as volunteers often crystallizes out of that. 

The story of Cheb, where hope thrives, for children and adults alike, is the subject of the fifth and final episode of the new podcast, So the Sky Won't Fall - Extraordinary Stories of Human Cohesion from the International Organization for Migration. The podcast is hosted and narrated by journalist Fatima Rahimi, who travels to five Czech cities to meet groups supporting Ukrainian refugees and their families. Rahimi gradually discovers how a consciousness of togetherness is emerging that has helped us cope surprisingly well with the unprecedented migration situation over the past year.

A five-part podcast series So the sky won't fall - Extraordinary Stories of Human Cohesion created by Kineticon. It is publicly available for listening on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or YouTube. Voiceover of the podcast is narrated by Petra Bučková. The selection of the communities for the podcast was made in cooperation with the Via Foundation, which supported the projects of communities from Beroun, Klatovy and Jablonec nad Nisou from its From Ukraine Among Us programme. The project is commissioned by the International Organization for Migration - IOM Czech Republic and is based on the global It Takes a Community movement celebrating how all people, regardless of where they were born, contribute to making our communities better places to live and call home.