Best practices

Igazgyöngy Alapítvány és Alapfokú Művészetoktatási Intézmény
(Pearl Foundation and Basic School for Arts), Hungary
Contact: Nóra L. Ritók, Director, [email protected]
The “Real Pearl” Foundation (Igazgyöngy Alapítvány) is a not-for-profit organisation in
Berettyóújfalu (East Hungary), which aims to foster and develop artistic talent and provides
basic arts training as well as social support for underprivileged and Roma children.
Its main aim is to support the personal and artistic development of these children ‘outside the
walls of the school building’ in order to improve their chances of integrating into society when
they grow up. By presenting the children’s artwork to the public, the project also aims to
change the stereotypical image of socially disadvantaged and Roma groups in the hope that
this will help their integration into the society later on in life. As such the Foundation allows
for access to the best tools and materials and the most interesting techniques for pupils who
are eager to learn. It focuses on creating equal chances and builds on education, social work
and cooperation between different institutions.
Besides running a basic art education institute, the Foundation’s activities have broadened in
recent years to include the provision of social services primarily for the families of the
pupils who take part in the arts programme. These activities range from distributing aid
(clothes, food, firewood, building materials, transportation) to giving advice about how to deal
with crises (e.g. collapsed roofs, illness or court cases) or understanding how to deal with
authorities and official procedures.
The Foundation has been active for over 12 years and today 670 children take part in their
art training programme. The majority (around 70%) of participating children are socially
disadvantaged and 250 live in severe poverty. The Foundation is funded partly through
government subsidies and partly by donations from individuals as well as private
organisations under the framework of corporate social responsibility.
In 2010 the Foundation was awarded the title of “Best Civil Organisation of the Year” by its
local authority.