children

How can an NGO work independently when it receives government funding? How can we activate and make responsible the members of a Roma settlement, if local helpers provide them with aid and donations on a regular basis? How can an educational initiative that holds afternoon workshops for children living in a Roma settlement  be sustainable if  all the teachers are paid employees? According to Bagázs, there is no way. The organisation that for the past five years has been working at the Bag Roma settlement located 39 kilometres from Budapest does not accept government funding, intends to initiate changes by activating the locals instead of being an intermediary for donations, and manages its development workshops for students with the help of volunteer secondary school and university students instead of paid educators. This way, instead of conserving vulnerability and a state of being under-privileged, they are working on bringing the people living in the Roma settlement and the members  of wider society truly closer to each other. However, both parties need to take important steps in order to achieve this. Because if we want to live in an inclusive society, we all – Romas and non-Romas, citizens and decision-makers – must take responsibility.

Although currently most services are ordered from companies at rather high prices, more and more NGO’s also offer high quality services. The event management group of the Hungarian Williams Syndrome Association – young peole living with Williams syndrome who are very easy-going and have excellent communication skills, and their helpers – are happy to do the catering background for any event. Based on the experiences of the past year, this team of young people living with a mental disability is competent in managing children’s programmes, registration tasks and offering tasty appetisers. Because as the Scandinavian say: no one is worth more than the other, only our strengths vary. Thankfully Hungary also has a few people who believe that people living with disabilities, who are usually marginalised, can also be a useful part of the community they were born in. 

When cars became more and more common a hundred years ago, many things had to be reconsidered and rearranged. Today the world of the internet creates numerous challenges that we have not faced before. Our child may become a victim while sitting in the safety of his or her room, alone and quiet; anonymous strangers may badmouth any of us; and the shared contents of anyone may reach thousands. Many parents and teachers would be likely to respond to the dangers of the internet with prohibition. However, making a responsible decision through informing ourselves of the potential gains and risks is a much better solution than prohibition. Because the same way as there is no gain without risks, there are no functionable democracies without curious and responsible citizens either. Thanks to Hope to the Children Association (Reményt a Gyermekeknek Egyesület), Bookmarks (Böngésző), a publication that supports the work of teachers and other youth workers by providing information on the theory and practice of recognising and handling internet harrasment and hate speech has been published in Hungarian. 

One-third of the children in Hungary live in unhealthy, damp, moldy homes. This is often because of doors and windows that are not insulated properly, but many families cannot afford to have them replaced. What can you do if you can’t afford to buy new windows, but you have had enough of having to heat the street? With the method of Ökoszolgálat, the draughty doors and windows of a home could be insulated for up to ten years, with a cost of only a few thousand Forints. Anyone can contribute to the initiative even with a little money, giving long-term support to underprivileged families. 

While different television programmes entertain viewers with various games set in egzotic locations that have nothing to do with real  life challenges, during an interactive theatre play titled „Sociopoly” we can get a glimpse into the situation, the challenges and decisions of people living in severe poverty. So we dont need to go as far as the jungles of South America if we want to try ourselves in merciless life situations – at least for the duration of a game – that we mostly have no clue about. 

Parents, teachers and students think about school like that: the bad students are lazy and the good grind their teeth and perform. In most cases it doesn’t even occur that learning might be a joyful creative activity that can even be attractive for the youth and not only for those who want to impress and perform. Yet a number of initiatives show that disadvantaged and middle class children can both learn with good spirit and perform better if we offer learning as an adventure and not a constraint.

Your answer does not really matter. For who is good and who is bad? Who has never made a mistake or  an error?  And is there anyone who never had any good deeds? These are not the most important questions if you want to see the human in anyone. Everyone is searching for happiness, you too and also those who committed a crime. Everybody goes through hell. Tragedies, dreams and hopes, families torn apart. These are performances where inmate fathers can show their children what they are capable of. They turn into dragon, witch, dog, they are present, they tell stories, they play and proudly show themselves to their children.

Small children don’t care who belongs to what groups. Are you nice with me, do you play with me or not? That’s it. Later they learn it from us adults to greet older people differently, not to eat too much candy in order not to become ugly fat and not to stare at disabled people on the street. We teach them our prejudices slowly and also the things that shouldn’t be asked.

On the first of May in Hungary we are celebrating with beer and sausage that we can work under more or less fair conditions: theoretically eight hours a day with social security, paid leave and the promise of pension. Such working rights and conditions are provided for most of this article’s readers which our ancestors couldn’t dream of a 150 years ago. But if we look around a bit more we can see that many people are still not free. While slavery is illegal in every country there have never been so many slaves on the Earth as today. 

Last night the people here noticed a strange blue glow coming from the old castle in the forest. The light show invoking alien invasion was however highlighting some of our fellow humans who live among us, yet are often treated like alien beings. On World Autism Awareness Day, blue light illuminated countless locations worldwide, from Niagara Falls to this crumbling old castle. Not so long ago, autism was considered a rare condition, while today it is recognized to affect one in 100 people, though often the symptoms remain undiagnosed. Probably, autistic people have always been among us, though in earlier times would be stuck with the labels 'village idiot' or 'eccentric genius'. Albert Einstein is assumed to have been on the autism spectrum, only back in his time autism research was in its infancy.

Oldalak