2023 Annual Activity Report

2023 was also a busy year for us. The blindschool project is in the paperwork – design – redesign – permit phase. The earliest the rehabilitation of the future boarding house building will take place, with construction expected to start in spring 2024. An exclusive commercial contract has been signed with the Czech company Matapo, so that the special push-button smart phone for the blind, developed by blind people, will be available in Romania, Bulgaria and Greece only through our company EMLA Blindtech, which was established in 2023. The special product is BlindShell.

Thanks to special needs teacher Gizella Ferencz and music pedagogue Gabriella Orosz, the block special education was provided throughout the year. The visually impaired children and young people mainly learned and practised Braille reading and writing, but we also held several basic IT courses in the Bartimeus Centre with the help of Zoltán Lakatos, a blind IT specialist. Smart devices are a great help for blind people, and we think it is important that young people get to know these possibilities and can use these functions safely.

We have launched a fundraising campaign to buy specialised teaching equipment, as a Braille typewriter starts at $700 and a Braille smart display costs $3,000. We’ve made serious progress on this too, thank you to our supporters!

In 2023, blind children were able to participate in three camps: the Tahitótfalus camp organised by the Hungarian Blind Mission, the camp organised by Magenta7 Szeklerland in Korondo, and the creative camp held in the Bartimeus Centre.

We are grateful for the establishment of the Magyar Vaknak Magyar Iskolát Alapítvány. We are working in close cooperation on the special school project.

We are proud of the 3 tonnes of Braille books that were the personal library of the late Hungarian blind linguist Gyula Farkashalmi. We will be worthy owners of this priceless cultural heritage.

Last year we also held awareness-raising sessions for sighted children in Szeklerland with Péter Sulyok and Balázs Almádi. This time again we managed to reach more than 400 sighted children. We are grateful for it!

Last year we participated in the community NGO event FussNeki in Odorheiu Secuiesc, our ambassadors raised more than we expected. All of the money will be spent on replacing the windows and dors in the apartments in Bartimeus Center. Thank you to thecompany Melinda Group, the #TeamMelinda team for supporting this project, without them it would not have been possible.

Our foundation received 18 tablets from the Hungarian National Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired in Hungary, and we announced a competition among Hungarian blind children and young people in Transylvania, the winning applicants will receive one device each. Thank you to MVGYOSZ for the devices! Great for note-taking, reading, homework, or even as a dictaphone, it can be first class. It’s the most unobstructed companion! Thank you!

Our year-end gala evening, which has become a tradition, was once again organised by BEBAK, for which we are grateful. Deaf people also attended our event, the whole show was accessible: thanks to the Narradívas, Kati Gazdik, audio narrator and Ildikó Demeter-Szabó, sign language interpreter and audio narrator for their great work!

We have managed to install our own water – gas – electricity lines, which we have also piped to the area of the future blind school. This means more than 300 metres of trench, including the pipelines. Thank God, we have been able to install a 30KW solar panel system, which is currently being licensed. We will also install a high capacity heat pump system. It is calculated that these two systems will greatly reduce the energy bills of the blind school and its dormitory.

We still need your support, because the rehabilitation of the dormitory building, the purchase of didactic equipment and dormitory equipment costs a lot of money.

We are grateful to our current supporters and hope that they will continue to support Hungarian children with visual impairment.

Special thanks go to the entrepreneur from Odorheiu Secuiesc who donated 1 million lei for the blind school project.