Building relationships on mutual trust
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Letter to Friends around the World # 93

In Hungary, the Real Pearl Foundation’s primary focus is art education, talent development, family community development programmes, and institutional cooperation; amongst authorities, schools, hospitals and NGOs.

We work in Told, one of the most disadvantaged regions of the country, where the majority of our students live in deep poverty, most of whom are of Roma ethnicity.  It is very important that Roma and non-Roma, poor and better-off students learn and work together. 

Our community development work is concentrated in one of the small villages within our support network. There are 350 people living there and only 7 are employed. The houses are in very poor condition, there is no water in the homes, there is no sanitation system in the village and the gas network only reaches the main street. Geographical segregation, lack of access to public services, low levels of education and the state of the local economy leave little hope for these people to find a job and their place in society. 

It's why we have been doing our complex community development program for over five years and the results of our work are apparent. We have managed to build a relationship based on mutual trust; the parents of our students understand that we are also keen to build a future for their children. Some examples of our projects are a home and community garden programme, a scholarship-scheme and the pay-as-you-go electricity meter programme.

We also set up a biomass-briquette manufacturing project from locally sourced agricultural waste to provide heating fuel. This is an alternative to expensive wood as well as reducing the burning of inappropriate synthetic materials. 

Our foundation aims to encourage families to become selfsufficient and find ways of creating jobs locally. We want to break the stereotypes of people living in deep poverty by proving that they can and want to change their circumstances if opportunities are given to them. 

We created a “social website” through which we sell handicrafts made by local Roma and non-Roma women who embroider children’s art work onto products such as mobile phone cases, pillows and handbags. The women earn a small wage for every piece they complete. This project and the website is called “Suno” which means dream in Romani language. 

Oni is part of this community and was chosen by the organisation to be one of their 6 key workers. She explains, “Aunt Nora trusts me in everything (even with money) and this gives me self confidence. A gipsy is looked down upon, by everyone, not trustworthy, like this.  And Nora trusts us!  And this whole project is based on trust.”

Nora L.R. Founder, Hungary

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Real Pearl Foundation