Fogd a Kezem Alapítvány (Hold My Hand Foundation) has been established in 1991, just around the regime and system change in Hungary. The NGO’s got more and more tasks from the government, and they became very strong social service providers already in few years. Now we have a culture of associations, foundations and other types of civil forms, where people gather to fulfill goals and help other people in need.
The Hold My Hand Foundation is working with mentally disabled (or more correctly called nowdays mentally challenged) adult people above 16 years, who fulfilled their compulsory education, and would like to work in a protected workshop environment. The Foundation operates a Work and Therapy Centre (Daycare Centre) and a Residential Home (Living Centre).
The Hold my Hand Foundation’s Work and Therapy Centre (Daycare Centre) hosts the volunteer to support the activities of the disabled young people, the address: 7634 Pécs, Béla Kovács street 10. The Daycare Centre provides an institutional employment and development preparation for 40 persons, currently in five workshops: (candle, paper, creative, household and assembly type of hired labor). Employment is the cornerstone of the Foundation’s work, partially from the Foundation’s point of view, because we must strive more toward self-preservation, on the other hand from the point of view of the disabled young people working at our place, they get wages for their work, thereby increasing their self-esteem, self-evaluation, an important member of society, not living on welfare, but also adds to the joint. The volunteer spends the daily activities in one of these workshops together with our mentally disabled youngsters led by the workshop leader specialist. The volunteer has the opportunity to unfold his talents and individual skills within the workshop, we are open to his ideas.In the afternoons through daycare setting our youngsters are involved in recreational programs. The volunteers are welcome to organize and carry out such programs once in awhile in collaboration with our recreation specialist colleague. These programs will be organized in a free informal way, they participate in the occasions, who are interested in that specific topic (eg. cooking, watching movies, baking, photography, music and rhythm, etc). It’s proven, that we more effectively can learn the knowledge, what we learn in an informal way, and is better engraved, further, even we are able to remember until the end of our lives. As being an informal, free to choose programme, those, who are interested prefer more likely to participate, their motivation is more sustainable. For several years there has been going on artistic vocational training, therapy and work type of group sessions in the field of fine arts (Art Brut direction) and theater (movement, dance, drama, forum theater, play-back). These sessions regular occasions, usually on a monthly basis carried out in blocks, also before exhibition or performance the participants intensively preparing for that specific event. The volunteer can be involved in all activities, although we ask them to focus on one main project, which will be targeted as his project area. She/he can learn about theater workshop techniques or art techniques. “Project in the project” is the realisation of the volunteer’s own imagination, ideas, dreams in the framework of the existing human and material resources. The volunteer prepares the project plan, budget, organizes and manages the event, makes the promotional material, writes the project diary, administers with photographs, carries out the event, prepares a presentation, and evaluating the project together with the mentor and the coordinator. This is our program, which we have been using for several years within the EVS framework, an effective tool in the learning process, which the volunteer can utilize in his later work as well. During the one-year the volunteer gets ready for this, also we ensure through the activity, that the volunteer learns the necessary skills, that are necessary to implement smaller or larger projects even alone, with very little help. The most successful projects are incorporated in our work, we try to plant it into the daily operational activities, and also occasionally we hold EVS days, when we commemorate our ex-volunteers through these programs.
Come into my world – inclusive drama and theatre (Tuncel Emir)
In the initial period, Tuncel took part in all workshops, he observed the work in all workshops, got to know the youngsters with intellectual disabilities, working in the workshop along with them.
He tried to integrate into the day-to-day life while he became acquainted with the Hungarian culture. We see that the initial period is especially difficult for the volunteers, and Tuncel was no different in this case, especially since he was never abroad before, he didn’t leave his elderly parents.
He was involved in the activities of the Creative workshop, his empathic skills were much strengthened, his contacts to the clients were good and deep, emotionally established. He was happy to try out new activities, develop new creative handmade products.
He worked in the Creative workshop and was constantly looking for new methods and techniques. He designed new printing templates for t-shirts and shopping bags, prepared booklets, designed different products from recycle newspapers. Sometimes he helped in the Resindental home for the Youngsters, who live there, and he planned and implemented leisure activities for them.
He volunteered in the Botanical Garden in Pécs, located at the University of Pécs.
He participated in the work and preparation of the integrated drama project „Aquarium”, where two of our Youngsters got chosen for the theatre piece called „About yourself won’t you talk?”, which has been now presented several times in different schools and cultural centres, also has been performed twice (in 2017 and 2018) at the POSZT (prominent theatre festival organised in Pécs on the summers).
Café Ability (Axéle Vincent)
The Foundation implements a number of larger and smaller projects, in this it seeks to strengthen social cohesion through the principle of inclusion-integration, autonomy and acceptance of otherness. One of these projects is the popular program of the Ability Café, in which 6 of the mentally disabled colleagues of the Foundation are involved, and the essence of the project is, that the mentally disabled colleagues do voluntar work mainly in cafeeshops in Pécs every day for 1-2 weeks, they do work like serving and clearing tables, cleaning, doing the dishes and other tasks and activities carried out by the workers there. In addition to the caffeeshops, there is possibility for the AC Youngsters to serve on different occasions and organised events. So far the program is voluntary, so the mentally disabled Youngsters don’t receive payment, financial compensation. The Ability Café project is managed by the founder of the project, who is the executive director of the Foundation, and dedicated special education teacher. In the “Café Ability” project, the volunteer joins the Ability Café project, becomes an active member, helping the management, the organization and implementation process, mentoring and does personal and group development the organization and implementation process, mentoring and does personal and group development activities with the participating Youngsters, designs and creates the logo for the project, the promotional material together with the mentally disabled Youngsters of the Ability Café, prepares and does the updating of the website and FB page of the Café, does blogging on her mothertongue about the project. The result of the “Café Ability” project is an efficient and a well-organized team operation, would be that even major events in the long run would work as service, and therefore as such, could ask for money for it. The daily personal and group development is greatly improving and strengthen the competences. skills and abilities of the Younsters participating. It promotes the integration of people with intellectudal disabilities into society, it works against prejudices, the Youngsters get a more accurate picture of the functioning of society, structure and facilitates socialization, as they participating regularly and more evenly (excluding salaries), the empathy of the mentally disabled and the members of the majority of society increases. Our experience has been very positive. We would like to spread our program at the national level, in this we await help of the volunteer also. Her own ideas can be implemented in the daily work and with the help of the project-founder (project-manager) and mentor together they can work out new methods. Our goal is to work more efficient, making it more enjoyable for the Youngsters and the volunteer to learn as much as possible through the informal learning. In this EVS project one person is participating, it’s 12 months in duration.
Axéle took part in the processes of production and training, and learned to allocate and plan daily activities (the workshop manager was always there, but became more and more independent in her work) for the intellectually challenged colleagues. Over time, she also designed her own products (ideas downloaded from the net and learned from a creative brochure) and implemented them (beading – painting small animals, making jewelery – earrings made from leather, these were products to sell at the festivals). Axéle’s project was the Ability Café program. In this program, 6 Youngsters with intellectual disabilities participate, the program has been running since 2013. With 3 cafes and bars, our Foundation is working together, where approx. every six months for a 2-week period they work each day, participants with intellectual disabilities are serving in their own uniform and take the table off with the staff of the café. For their work they do not receive money, financial benefits, and participate in a completely voluntary form. The success of the program is shown by the fact that it has been operating continuously since 2013, the team has been in the media, and other organizations have taken over the program in other cities, and there are several Ability Cafes in Hungary. After Axéle’s arrival, she took part in organizing the program, working with the program manager. She got to know the operation of the program, participated in the summer camp, where other Ability Cafés were there. Subsequently, she developed the Ability Café program for further training, which is a theoretical and practical app. occasional two-hour training. The occasions happened once a week, led by Axéle, the coordinator or the coach translated and assisted. The training took place in a nearby Cultural Center, so participants could have a break from their everyday activities and focus on the occasions. They always started with warm-up, stress-relieving exercises, then had a conversation (for example, what were their difficulties at work), then theoretical learning, and then practiced serving and interacting with people through situational exercises. At the end of the occasions, they evaluated what happened, told what they liked, what they learned, and what they wanted to learn.
Art Poetica (Yana Masarnovskaya and Elizaveta Shakirkhanova)
The tasks of the volunteers and the activities are multi-faceted, which mostly take place at the Foundation’s Daycare Centre and Residental Home. We would like to start the activity from September and plan for a maximum of 12 months. We consider it important for our volunteers to implement long-term projects, as it takes time for our clients to accept someone, be able to bind to her/him, but it is also important from the project’s point of view that our volunteers can complete a whole process.
All our programs go along the principles and directions of the most important foundation and EVS statutes, such as tolerance, acceptance of otherness, empathy, normalization and autonomy.
We can collect the tasks of the volunteers according 5 groups:
First task group – daily participation in the work of the chosen workshop, which includes mental support, occasionally caring, accompanying and developing the mentally disabled clients working in the workshop. Thus, the volunteers are partly involved in caring tasks and partly in production activities. Collaboration with the leader of the workshop, learning the tasks assigned to them, like certain phases of the work of handicraft products, the volunteers help these processes and training the clients in the workshop. This process begins with the morning talk in the workshops and then continues with the daily work, which is different in each workshop. Volunteers have the opportunity to switch between workshops during their EVS service and later choose a workshop they want to spend their entire activity. The daily work is interrupted by a break at 10 o’clock snack and at 12:15 lunch, which takes place in the dining room, the Youngsters go together with the volunteers, who help in the necessary tasks. In the afternoon they return to the workshop and have the opportunity to organize and carry out leisure activities. Workshops led by professionals who carry out all their activities in accordance with the principles of the foundation and their best expertise. The most important principles of the foundation are tolerance, acceptance of otherness, empathy, normalization and autonomy.
2nd task group – the volunteers are developing the Art Poetica project together with the mentor and coordinator. The volunteers work with the artistic tool and method they choose to organize and implement their project involving young people with intellectual disabilities. We experience that our volunteers are active and motivated from the start, they want to show what they know. Based on these, we give them the opportunity to practice this knowledge and skills (of course, with professional help – mentor, workshop leader).
3rd task group – the volunteers accompanying the Youngsters between the Daycare Centre and our Residential Home. Travelling between these two places a bit complicated, as the colleagues have to travel with two busses to get from one place to the other. They need assistance, because they can’t get around the city by themselves. From time to time we await help with the tasks at the Residental Housing, like: cooking, cleaning, organizing programs in town, hiking, walking, helping in taking them to swimming.
4th task group – the volunteers are participating in individual, periodic projects. These programs are extremely diverse, and we are currently running many smaller or larger projects. For example, “Ability Café” – our trained intellectually challenged colleagues help in caffeshops voluntarly, this way show society, that they are capable of learning and doing this kind of jobs. “Garden project” – we grow vegetables and herbs in the garden of the Foundation. “Integrated Art Brut Training at the University” – our talented mentally challenged colleagues participate together in the training with the students of the art course of the University. Projects implemented through mandatory community volunteer services, our Youngsters spend time together with students from the local secondary schools and high schools. The “Integrated Drama and Theater” group, where we cooperate with dramateachers and amateur acters with different backgrounds.
5th task group – the volunteers are delivering a very popular program called “Project in Project”. The essence of this project is that volunteers choose a project that they manage and implement themselves. This can be outlined in the middle of the project, when they get to know the operation of the Daycare Centre and the skills of the Youngsters, and they are able to communicate in Hungarian to manage the project independently (supported by professionals). The project itself is usually carried out by the volunteers towards the end of their activity.
Some of Yana and Liza’s work was spent in the workshops, at the beginning of the project they tried to get to know the workprocedures, and after awhile they took part in this as well, enriched the product range with their own ideas, and helped to train the Youngsters with intellectual disabilities to these jobs.
Volunteers organized and implemented a number of afternoon leisure activities to color the everyday lives of the Youngsters with intellectual disabilities, improve their skills and improve their quality of life. These occupations also motivated professional colleagues to carry out similar activities themselves.
Yana regularly participated in our Art Brut trainings (she also carried out research with the participating students), she made and held artistic and therapeutic activities for the mentally disabled Youngsters. Liza was a supporter of these sessions.
The volunteers made Christmas workshop, which was organised and implemented once a week. At these times the interested mentally challenged colleagues could learn about different activities and prepare christmas gifts for their family.
Yana organized and hold each time the Amor club for the girls. She prepared thematics for this project, and she also worked out a methodology for these sessions. The girls, who participated enjoyed them very much, and they felt these were very useful.
Both volunteers implemented their own project with great success, and they also had a separate ppt report about their projects. Yana organised and carried out art therapy classes for the interested Youngsters. It was very popular.
With Yana’s organisation we managed to implement a regional european volunteer meeting at our place in the Daycare Centre, we invited coordinators, mentors and volunteers from organizations, who are implementing E+ projects in the area. For this meeting, Yana prepared a presentation, including a presentation of our Foundation, the Daycare Centre, her project and their own projects with Liza. The meeting was so successful that the next one was organized and held by another organization and launched a strong and effective collaboration between the organizations.
Liza worked out thematics for Special Fashion, in this project she worked with one of the intellectually challenged youngsters, in these sessions she learned about colous, skin and body type, and of course clothes and accesssories.
Yana and the coordinator visited two prominent Gymnasiums in Pécs, and they held presentation about voluntary work and EVS. Also talked about ERASMUS+ programs.
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