The European People’s Party (EPP) held a group hearing on 26 February 2013 on ‘A grassroots method to help eradicate child hunger in the most deprived regions of Hungary’. The event was organised by Tamás Deutsch MEP (EPP, HU), and the keynote speaker was the French-Hungarian sociologist Zsuzsa Hegedűs who is the senior advisor to the Hungarian Prime Minister and Chair of the “No Child Should Go Hungry” Foundation (“Minden gyerek lakjon jól” foundation) in Hungary. This foundation was founded in 2009 to support children in the most deprived regions of Hungary by providing mini-farms to over 28,000 families to date and another planned 30,000. The foundation is funded by private donations and receives no state support.
Zsuzsa Hegedűs, Chair of the Foundation stressed the following points:
- the failure of Roma children in school is not related to their background but due to their malnutrition
- financial public aid is not always as effective as we might think, since it assumes that people in need will buy essential goods, which is not always the case. That is why it is more effective to give material goods, such as grain and live animals, as they can more directly improve the nutrition levels of the whole family
- decision makers do not always have to seek the opinion of people living in poverty, but they do have to focus on their needs
- according to some estimations and date, half of the children in Hungary live in poverty
- priority should be given to improving people’s situations by involving them in the process
- Therefore, simply donating money is not enough: we need to teach people how they can best manage themselves.
– The website of the “No Child Should Go Hungry” Foundation is available here in Hungarian: “Minden gyerek lakjon jól”.
– It is important to give back to poor people their human dignity and show them that they can do things for themselves.
Tamás Deutsch MEP (EPP, HU), Member of Hungarian Association of International Children’s Safety Service since 1990, highlighted that during the last 2 years, the foundation has reached out – without any money from the state – to 27,732 families in 504 municipalities. According to the estimations of Zsuzsa Hegedűs, it had a positive impact on approximately 75,000 children in Hungary.
The event was followed by a roundtable discussion in the evening held in the Balassi Institute (Hungarian Cultural Institute, Brussels).