Unlikely alliance between SozialMarie winners


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What is the connection between social integration, sustainability and healthy meals? How is the aim of desegregation compatible with the idea of zero-waste? Read our report on a joint pioneer project, initiated by two of the SozialMarie winners in Hungary.  

Two project leaders with two seemingly different aims, got to know each other at the SozialMarie award ceremony in Hungary. The NGO initiative "Feed" is active in the field of gastronomy and sustainability, while the project "Inclusive Kindergartens" – a joint project of NGOs and the Józsefváros municipality – works towards the integration of disadvantaged children. The two Hungarian winners differ in their target groups and strategies. At least at first sight. However, during their conversation it soon became clear that they share common goals. As the leaders of both projects are advocates of quick and practical solutions, they immediately started planning a joint project. The new initiative combines the culinary expertise of Feed with the target group and educational expertise of Inclusive Kindergartens. The idea: skills development workshops for children.


Feed – a project for those who need it most

The Feed initiative was launched in response to the challenges of the pandemic. Gastronomy businesses set about supporting health workers with healthy, nutritious and delicious food, with lunch delivered daily to frontline workers in environmentally friendly, biodegradable packaging. The initiative was very well received and quickly grew beyond the possibilities of social collaboration, resulting in the establishment of the non-profit public benefit organisation, Feed. Since then, the organisation's network has continued to grow amongst partners who value sustainability. Since the pandemic situation is now less acute, Feed has moved into new waters to address other pressing social problems. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, many refugees have arrived in Hungary in urgent need of food and clothing. Feed has been quick to respond – immediately starting fundraising to meet these needs. Gastronomy is always at the heart of the project's activities, but the target group varies according to social needs. In its two years of operation, Feed has recognised that there are many more tasks and situations closely related to its current activities that need to be addressed, and has discovered many new opportunities and areas where it can contribute to the community. They have had the good experience of being able to influence our environment through gastronomy and to have a positive impact on society.


An integration strategy for nurseries

Inclusive Kindergartens is the first comprehensive desegregation kindergarten programme in Hungary, implemented by the Rosa Parks Foundation in cooperation with partner organisations, public kindergartens and the municipality of Budapest's 8th district. It is rare in Hungary to have an inclusive education programme that focuses on both migrant and Roma communities. The project is based on an easy-to-adopt concept, aiming to make all kindergartens inclusive. The kindergartens will develop their own personalised inclusion plan, setting individual indicators and benchmarks that best fit the kindergartens’ inclusion strategy.


A gastro-educational programme for pre-school children

Successive crises have pushed many long-standing and serious social problems into the background. Less attention and energy than usual have been devoted to environmental protection, sustainable operation and living, as well as to the early integration and early development of disadvantaged children and young people. This problem was recognised by the project leaders of Feed and Inclusive Kindergartens. Feed believes that positive social change can start with food. Food and gastronomy can have an impact on our environment and on our communities because food permeates every aspect of our lives and shapes the way we live and relate to the environment for generations to come. This is also true for vulnerable groups in society. Feed achieves its aim through gastro-educational programmes. As an exciting and effective way of creating change, the programmes provide children with the knowledge and practical skills to create a sustainable future and a healthy lifestyle –  and, where possible, to help those in difficulty. On 22 June, Feed held its first gastronomic education programme with children and their parents from the Józsefváros Family Transition Home with great success.

The leaders of Inclusive Kindergartens know that successful integration requires early development, from an early age. The two projects are negotiating a joint education programme to provide children with practical skills that will both develop their psychomotor skills and contribute to a healthy lifestyle and a sustainable future. With the help of a specialist from the Józsefváros Municipality, they will develop play-filled workshops in which children will learn about the ingredients used in food, learn recipes and prepare and eat food together. In this way, they will not only have a social experience, but also experience what it is like to work in a team, develop their creativity and improve their communication skills. They will also learn to read and count through recipes.

The gastro-educational workshop is an innovative programme that helps to change children's perceptions at an early stage of their development, leading them towards a sustainable and healthy lifestyle and a more inclusive world. The primary target group of the gastro-education programmes with the participation of the Municipality of Józsefváros are children aged between 7-13 years. The first, highly successful workshop took place on 22 June and the next programme is scheduled for 27 July. The gastro-educational programmes are continuously monitored and further developed with the help of the psychology and pedagogy advisor of the Municipality of Józsefváros. This ensures that the programmes are not only interesting for children, but also contribute as much as possible to their development.


Pictures: Major Kata