“In 2011, I was admitted to the doctoral program. At the time I was working as a social worker in Pesterzsébet with kids of Roma origin, hanging out on the street and piling up failure after failure at school. I enrolled because I wanted to understand why nothing I had tried to do is succeeding. As I dug deeper and deeper into the literature, I came across Júlia Szalai's research titled Széttartó jövőképek (Divergent Prospects), which presents the fact that Roma children get lower grades in school simply because of their ethnicity, and 74% of them lose their dreams by the time they reach sixth grade.
I became terribly angry and desperate. I named the phenomenon spiritual holocaust, where social racism destroys the dreams, self-esteem, and abilities of Roma children.
I felt the need not to conduct research, but to act, and to do so where the problem was the greatest: Borsod, Baranya, and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg... These counties had the highest proportion of disadvantaged children at the time, so we looked into these areas. Following the advice of experts, we ended up in the sub-region of Encs, more specifically in the village of Pere, where it all started. This is how InDaHouse was born.”
In 2014, we held our first sessions in Pere. At first, we held development sessions only on a monthly basis, then every two weeks. Since the winter of 2015, we provide weekly sessions for the children of the Encs sub-region born into poverty, most of whom are of Roma origin.
Our volunteers have two goals:
In the beginning we had no money, no team, no place, just our enthusiasm and free time. We didn't even have a car. We took the train early Saturday mornings from Budapest Keleti railway station to visit the children.
That's why it was a great opportunity to be able to get a room from the municipality of Pere for free, where we built a bathroom and a sink, and bought a stove. That's how those 50 square meters came to be the heart and soul of InDaHouse. We slept on fold-out chair beds and mattresses at night, and studied with the children during the day.
However, by 2017 we had outgrown the place both physically and mentally. Physically, because the 20 children turned into 90, and the 5 volunteers to 70. Mentally, because our freethinking, emancipatory program did not please the local leadership, due to which there was more and more conflict.
Thus, we made the decision to move.
By 2019, the InDaHouse Volunteer and Children’s Center (InDaHouse Önkéntes- és Gyerekközpont) was completed with the assistance of more than 600 volunteers, more than 1,200 private individuals, and 20 corporate sponsors. This center has been a suitable base for our program and our Association ever since.
In 2020, a big dream came true: we started our work helping children in Fügöd, the most stigmatized Roma neighborhood in Encs. On four streets, more than 200 children live in constant deprivation. The parents' education level is low, and their main task is to survive from day to day. There are not enough teachers in either the kindergarten or the school, which is why the underdevelopment in the first years of children is growing rather than shrinking.
We started working with 5-year-old children, which is how our professional school preparatory program was born, where every year 30-40 children practice holding a pencil, cooperation, numeracy, and the vocabulary necessary for school.
It has been important from the start that what we do has meaning and a real impact, which is why we are constantly improving our methodology and measuring our impact.
However, the disadvantages that have been accumulating for generations can only be overcome through decades of persistent, dedicated work. In order to ensure our stability, we do not rely on tenders, but mainly on donations from individuals and companies.