PROFILANTROP
Profilantrop Association
Country/Town: Hungary, Budapest
Topic: Environmental, Social and Economic Development

Changing communities

through farming

Why?

In Budapest there is a social need for equality, for openness and willingness to learn from experience and thus for making valuable links between different social or ethnic groups that can lead, afterwards, to a constant dialogue between countries and cultures where Roma is a part of it. This is precisely what Profilantrop is all about: finding a way to lead a responsible, sustainable and peaceful lifestyle adapted to Budapest conditions and that implies using environment-friendly techniques while helping disadvantaged people to reach less vulnerable economical status.

The aim

Profilantrop is a project based on community development, which combines the environmental, social and economical aspects of sustainability through the lenses of systems thinking. This project aims at inspiring and motivating community members to use appropriate technological solutions for improving their day-to-day life (insulating doors, windows, renovating their houses), but also strives to help them in saving money through a community bank. Basically, Profilantrop Association develops simple and appropriate technologies: for example, biomass briquettes that improve standard of living, especially for families with a low income.

Project

Timeline

Community Bank started in the village of Ág, with the purpose of strengthening community development and its financial knowledge. Since then, members of Community Bank Programme have a meeting on a bi-weekly basis which helps them to save money for the materials needed to renovate their houses.

It is also a great step for the local members because it enables them to save little money for their future plans. Basically, their income is very low and, in most of the cases, they don’t have long-term plans.” (Profilantrop team)

Profilantrop paid study visits to a hemp producer in Ecséd, Hungary’s most prosperous industrial hemp producer social cooperative, and to an emu farm, in Nagybajom. These visits enabled community leaders to test and deepen their knowledge about sustainability and gain know-how about ways of managing a sustainable and innovative enterprise in Hungary.

8 houses were renovated in Ág. With the help of Habitat for Humanity, Hungary, Profilantrop succeeded in bringing Roma people together, sharing the same goal of rebuilding their community, literally, thus proving what an active community looks like.

Important people

and resources

Local municipality

“The positive and supporting attitude of the local decision makers is essential when someone is working in small communities, otherwise they can cause great obstacles for the project. Our cooperation with the local decision makers is good, they actively help us and support our work.” (Profilantrop team)

Staff members

Krisztina Jász, Roland Oláh and Attila Mester. Their background in social policy, social work, sociology, community building, appropriate technology, makes a perfect mixture of expertise for this local project

Community leaders

there are some key people in the village who implement the ideas met in the project

Experts and partners from ERSTE Foundation

Alina helped a lot in developing the project to its current state and supported us with the preparations for accessing funding

Experts of SIMPACT

Were helpful in developing a good framework to measure our results and keep track of the process

Members of partner Organization

The Earth Country House Social Cooperative – provided first hand informations about how to run a social cooperative and how to be a successful industrial hemp-producer.

Achievements

Even if Profilantrop didn’t follow numbers when it came to results, but more a subtle and deep connection within the community that would lead to an increasing in the general, day-to-day well being of the Roma people from Budapest, they nevertheless ceased to appear. And this is how 14 members of the local community became stable and innovative partners in Profilantrop course of action with an lively interaction between them and the rest of the group, as seen in the number of people who worked together, and still working, to renovate 8 roofs, to learn and experience from the 2 study visits and to create together based on their common experience.

They started producing a video about poverty reduction and the theme speaks about their hemp production ideas they had after the visits.

Challenges

Learned Helplessness

“As most of the community members are facing day by day the consequences of poverty and in-work poverty, many times it becomes very hard to break the attitude of learnned helplessness within the community. The very fact that they could possibly be the actors of positive changes in their surroundings is not a reality for them and in many cases they can not believe it. ” (Profilantrop team)

Regulation

The relevant legal regulation in Hungary is very complex and unpredictable, which makes it very challenging to implement ideas into practice. For example, the plan to renovate chimneys became impossible after the authorities changed the relevant policies.

Lack of available land for cultivating industrial hemp

In the last few months there were radical changes in the ownership structure of lands across Hungary and now it is very difficult to find available patches of land left in that region.

Extra

content available in local language

Photo album