InDaHouse Hungary is a social innovation organization that works with socially disadvantaged children and young people living in Borsod county, which is one of the most underprivileged regions in Hungary.
Within the organization, we carry out our activities with the help of our volunteers. They devote their time to our programme, and share their knowledge by holding individual and group sessions for the children, in order to improve the kids’ social and learning skills. The goal of our programme is to empower these young people and facilitate them to become responsible adults, who have plans for the future and are able to realize their dreams. Ultimately, we hope that in the long run, they will be able to pass on their knowledge to the future generations of this region.
We held our first individual sessions for children in Pere, in 2014. Back then only two committed people carried out these activities, but since then our organization has been growing constantly: now we have nearly 200 people in our team (both volunteers and employees included). We started out by working with 20 children in one village, and now we are working with 150 children in four villages. We also moved our centre from Pere to Hernádszentandrás.
We work within the frameworks of three main professional areas: the Early Childhood Development Programme, the Pre-school Programme and the Learning Centre Programme.
At the moment, our volunteers visit the homes of 52 pre-schoolers and younger children each weekend, in order to hold developmental sessions for them, involving their families as well. Our goal is to develop the skills these children need for school, preventing them from falling behind as early as during the initial years of their education, especially because after the first few years at school, it is becoming increasingly difficult to catch up.
Our next professional goal is to provide an individual development plan for each child, and teach them accordingly.
This is our newest programme element. In August 2020, we started working with children living in Fügöd, a slum-like settlement of a nearby town, Encs. Starting from the school year of 2020/2021, we have a group of developmental teachers in our team, who provide weekly developmental plans for 36 five-year-old children, in order to make them prepared for school requirements.
Within this programme element, we hold personalized developmental sessions for 60 children of school age every week. Almost every child has a personal mentor, and we also have a group of volunteers whose main task is to prepare the individualized worksheets every week. This way we can support the children’s learning process as effectively as possible. There are four workgroups in total within this programme element, each one led by dedicated coordinators.
Our ultimate goal is to include all the other kids from our waiting list in the programme. In order to do this, we need to increase the number of our volunteers in each workgroup, and ensure their transportation to the site.
InDaHouse has five full-time employees, and there are two local drivers who make sure that the weekends run smoothly. Everyone else working in the programme is a volunteer – to date, this means nearly 200 people. The two drivers, who drive the children from the surrounding villages to our centre for the learning sessions, are fathers from the community, taking part in our developmental programmes.
One of our main reasons for operating on the basis of voluntary work is that our programme can increase social solidarity this way. Those who live in poor families in an isolated, understimulated environment meet the volunteers who come from better backgrounds. They work together, they learn and play together, and in the meantime, the social gap between them becomes smaller. This way the children integrate into the larger society, even if only in these four small villages. Therefore, the social purpose of the program can only be achieved by volunteers.
The annual budget of our association is 30 million HUF, and we use various fundraising methods in order to make this amount available. We are always on the lookout for corporate partners, use peer-to-peer fundraising, and organize crowdfunding campaigns and charity events.
In an initiative that thrives on the creativity, diversity, and commitment of the volunteers who work in it, there are plenty of ideas that we try to implement. These include the magazine written by children (Pereputty), our camps, and our hiking group. In addition, we need to devote a lot of attention and energy to working with our volunteers, recruiting and motivating them, as well as acknowledging their efforts. We are also constantly developing our communication and marketing strategies.
InDaHouse Hungary has built a Volunteer and Children Centre with the help of social alliance, financed mainly from donations, and using voluntary work, in a village of 425 inhabitants, 210 kilometres away from the capital. Since the Centre was built, we have a constant base and a stable background for the work we have been doing since 2014, namely reducing child poverty and social exclusion. Opening a community café and a charity shop near our Centre are also part of our long term plans. With these two projects, we hope to improve the inhabitants’ standard of living, enhance social interaction and cooperation, and strengthen our relationships in the village, while raising funds for our operation.