Free as mothers? - A new haven for parents in downtown Budapest

The number of really child-friendly cafés in Budapest can be counted on one hand, making it a special challenge to get out and relax as parents and taking our boisterous kids along. HellóAnyu! (Hi Mom!) is a pro-family community space featuring diverse programs, an organic café and child-friendly interior, to enable fun for all, big or small, while maintaining a community focus.

Only a few minutes' walk from Oktogon,  the two-storey HellóAnyu! building is a busy, teeming treasure trove. The place is basically a great big playhouse, with diaper changing table, study corner and yoga room facilities available as well as hot food and a range of sweets and desserts for the whole family. This special space accommodates a wide range of age groups: six-month toddlers can crawl around or doze off on the huge baby mat, kindergarten age kids have a dynamic assortment of toys and games at their disposal, school students can take their homework into a quiet nook or take tea with friends, while parents can finally meet up with their own friends and socialize.

Not only is HellóAnyu! a pro-family café, it is also a vibrant community scene. As part of NESsT Enterprises, they organize diverse programs day to day, including kindergarten music activities in English and German, baby fingerpainting and handicraft afternoons by Színtér Projekt, and Thursday family folk dance sessions, to name just a few. Visitors can regenerate with massages, mommy-baby and prenatal yoga, or family exercise sessions in this enchanting atmosphere. February saw the launch of a monthly film club, but there are also a range of presentations and training courses that enable mothers to return to work( for a detailed event calendar please visit this webpage). Child care is available for the duration of these activities, so while moms go off to find new friends and experiences, kids are safe and free to start their own social life with their peers at an early stage.

This place addresses a real community need, providing a service absent thus far: a customized child-friendly space with comprehensive leisure facilities for the entire family. Even mothers with babies as young as one month are no longer forced into isolation, now that HelloAnyu! is here to provide a welcoming environment for all parents and children. It is a social venue available for breastfeeding mothers, fully embracing motherhood even while relaxing, socializing,and gaining new experiences without being separated from their child.

Besides the versatility of the complex community space, it is also worth noting its community forming power. Visitors and staff work together in shaping the services and activities available for kids and grownups, even making room for parents' projects and ideas. One enthusiastic mom already set up a “free shop” shelf for depositing and claiming unused baby clothes and gear, and it proved such a hit there's a free childrens' bookshelf project being planned as a follow-up. HellóAnyu! is developing organically, and in this self-organizing way it is quickly turning itself into a community space like no other in Hungary.