TFN members in Budapest

A small but perfectly formed group of TFN members and supporters travelled to Budapest this month to attend the first live crowdfunding event organised by our Hungarian national partners, Roots and Wings Foundation, and to learn more about the country from civil society representatives. 

The Roots and Wings live crowdfunding event raised £4,000 to support the development of the three community foundations in Hungary – in Pécs, Ferencváros  (in Budapest) and Téréro –  and their work to establish TFN live crowdfunding events in their communities. The event began with a very amusing (and for some very challenging!) ice breaker which involved making  a paper aeroplane and then hurtling it at somebody you didn’t know in order to make their acquaintance.

Other highlights of the three day visit included a breakfast meeting with the BBC’s Central Europe correspondent for the past 30 years, Nick Thorpe. Nick set the current worrying political situation within the context of the past 100 years of history since the signing of the Treaty of Trianon under which Hungary was shorn of three quarters of  its territory and 3 million ethnic Hungarians found themselves living in different countries . It was a highly insightful session and we will be watching the results of the country’s elections next month with great interest.

We also spent a day hearing from and talking to academics and civil society leaders working so hard to counter the effects of Viktor Orbán and his far right government.  It was both humbling and inspiring to hear  of their efforts to stand up for democracy, an open press and a society in which everyone is free and welcome.

We were also lucky enough to have some free time, allowing some of us to experience the wonderful attractions the city has to offer. These included an outdoor roof top soak in a thermal pool overlooking the city in the snow, an unforgettable dinner cruise on the Danube, tea in the Four Seasons, formerly the Gresham Palace and childhood home of TFN member Jackie Elton's mother and an evening at the Hungarian opera. Click here to see some photos from the trip. 

We hope to organise further study visits to countries with which we have partnerships such as we have with Roots and Wings. Watch this space!  To those who came with us for this first trip, Margaret Evison, Pam Walker, Kate Maltby and Jackie Elton  – thank you for putting your faith in us and  to our friends and colleagues in Hungary, we say an enormous thank you for your hospitality and generosity. 

 

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