As passionate as our team is about water and sustainability, we’re just as passionate about giving back to people and communities we care about.
At the end of 2021, we joined the OFEO – I adopt a Kindergarten movement and want to share a bit about this outstanding and touching initiative, connecting our team across the U.S. and Hungary to support those in need.
Hella Barát, a journalist with small children, created the OFEO – I Adopt a Kindergarten initiative. She noticed that her children have a lot of extra clothes, toys, shoes, and books, but she didn’t know what to do with them. In an interview, she stated that she had never given to charity previously because she believed that helping individuals in poverty did not solve the problem.
Coincidentally, Hella was fortunate to have a friend who was working directly with a kindergarten where all of the children were living in extreme poverty. She contacted the kindergarten to see if they would take her unwanted stuff as a donation. The kindergarten was overjoyed. If you are not from Hungary, you should be aware that the majority of kindergartens in the country are funded by the government and have a restricted budget. These institutions rely substantially on parental contributions, particularly for basic goods such as tissue paper, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.
As a journalist, Hella started to call kindergartens of the poorer areas in Hungary and did interviews about their situation. She discovered how difficult life can be: many of the children live in homes without utilities, do not eat properly, and do not have winter clothes, toys, or books. Kindergartens are the only places where they may be children. The kindergarten is the only location that can show children an alternative way of life.
Children living in extreme poverty already lack key talents and information by the time they attend kindergarten at the age of three. Without adequate kindergarten teaching and infrastructure, these children have significant disadvantages over other children that make it hard for them to catch up. When they attend kindergarten, many of these children don’t have access to running water and don’t know how to even clean their teeth with a toothbrush. The specialists who work there teach the children how to wash their hands, brush their teeth, feed them nutritious meals, read books, and provide them with a safe environment that includes power, running water, and a heating system. Their work is fundamentally vital for these children to grow up into healthy adults.
Hella believed that this was an excellent method to assist and improve the lives of these children, and many others agreed with her. The OFEO movement served as a bridge between kindergartens and volunteers.
As of now more than 3600 volunteers joined and supports 628 institutions with more than 34,000 kids. Now they are working 5 types of institutions:
– kindergarten (age 3-6)
– daycare houses (age 0-3)
– foster houses (age 6-18)
– afternoon study places (age 7-14)
– mother-children safe houses
3-year-oldHere are some quotes from OFEO’s Facebook page all said by professionals working in the Kindergartens.
“The little girl asked if she could leave the toy she just received in the kindergarten, so her parents won’t sell it”
“Our most heart-breaking story when we had to call the ambulance for a 3 year old boy, because both of his feet was frozen…in 2019”
“Many of these kids go to sleep early, because they don’t have anything to eat for dinner. If they sleep early, they are not feeling hungry”
“It is unbelievable that there are kids who don’t cry because they have to go to the kindergarten, but they cry when they have to go home in the afternoon”
“The boy had no toothbrush for weeks, then he received one from the nanny. He was so happy, he wanted to sleep with it”
Our desire to help enabled us to ‘adopt’ 38 children to the Transcend family. Our first packages reached them before Christmas. We strongly hope that we can contribute for a brighter future for these children – they all deserve a chance, as their future is our future.
Click here if you would like to participate