The mission of the Firestarter Association is to help families where one or both parents have grown up in state care. The Association, which was established in 2020 and is active in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, seeks to achieve its mission in the most effective and sustainable way, and has therefore joined the Resilience Programme initiated by the Badur Foundation.
On average, more than 20,000 children are being cared for in the child protection system in Hungary every year. Those children quickly become adults but the system and the homes provided are not able to adequately prepare them for social integration. They receive limited education often with no professional qualifications, and as a result it is difficult for them to find jobs. Their way of life is characterised by a lack of social support and security, with care leavers often facing job losses, as well as their own children being at risk of entering the care system. Many care leavers are of Roma origin, meaning they face additional and often multiple barriers, prejudices and social disadvantages. The goal of the Firestarter Association (‘FA’) is to support these vulnerable adults and their families to ensure that their children are not taken into state care.
Although FA is a young organisation, the team has significant experience working with the target group in different forms for decades. The recipients of FA are mostly adults (and their families) who used to be cared for in the ‘Children’s City’ orphanage of Tiszadob. At the same time, the professionals currently working for FA used to be caregivers at the ‘Children's City’. Therefore, there is an extremely strong bond between FA and its recipients, and between the recipients themselves.
The current programme of the organisation has the following main pillars:
- mentoring and training families, focusing on practical skills (for example financial management);
- supporting families in crisis;
- building and strengthening the community (organising community events and family camps);
- supporting children in education (talent management programme).
FA successfully applied for and participated in the first phase of the Resilience Programme in 2021. The trustees of the Badur Foundation approved support for the team in the implementation of their development plan.
The implementation phase of the Resilience programme has started and FA began working towards its development goals at the beginning of 2022. FA has been working on fundraising activities, in order to attract as many private and corporate donors as possible. The team aimed to secure a stable, repeat income from several sources. The ultimate goal is to launch and maintain its planned programmes, primarily the support and mentoring of families. The first family summer camp was held in 2022, where the needs of families were assessed and important elements of mentoring were presented. FA has continued to focus on fundraising, human resources, and appropriately delegating tasks. As part of this process, the Foundation approved additional financial support towards the position of a part-time volunteer coordinator and administrative assistant for two years. This will enable the organisation to increase its capacity by attracting more volunteers and to strengthen its strategic programmes by distributing tasks more efficiently. The Badur Foundation continues to support and monitor its activities.