Having served the Hungarian community in the Carpathian Basin and further afield for 30 years, the Rákóczi Association aims to use the means at its disposal to promote the cause of Hungarian culture, language and ethnic Hungarian communities. The Association’s activity is directed primarily at Hungarian youth. Our organization boasts over 28 000 members and more than 500 local branches, 300 of which are youth organizations based in high schools. The Association’s head office in Budapest operates with 19 young full-time employees and a host of dedicated volunteers.
In 2019, Rákóczi Association’s close to 80 activities involved over 100 000 participants, mostly representing the young generation. The focal point of our activity is encouraging Hungarian-language school choice among ethnic Hungarian families in neighbouring countries, due to the fact that those not enrolled by their parents to a Hungarian-language educational institution are likely lost for the Hungarian community. In order to meet this goal, our organization reaches out to families with newborns, nursery-age children and first-graders alike. Over the past year, we expressed our best wishes to 9000 newborns by endowing families our My First Book newborn diary. During the spring, we provided children enrolled to Hungarian-language schools with a complimentary schoolbag and following the commencement of the curricular year in September, we handed out our scholarship symbolizing Hungarian unity in person to 9000 children entering school at over 400 locations. Due to their key role in school choice, we consider it important to express our appreciation to nursery and primary school teachers. Wide-ranging societal support has been established in favour of the Hungarian School Choice Programme, with half a thousand municipalities and a number of public figures contributing to the cause.
In March 2019, our Association was able to purchase the Várhegy Üdülő resort in Sátoraljaújhely, northeastern Hungary, with funding from the Government of Hungary. On 4 June, the Day of National Unity, the facility was ceremoniously opened to our organization’s guests in the presence of 1000 high school students from the Carpathian Basin and beyond, as well as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
A further facet of our activity is centred upon high school-age youth. We are convinced that a major element of identity and relationships is established between the age of 14 and 18. The Rákóczi Association aims to expose young people in this period to as many impulses as possible to encourage them to foster their Hungarian identity and forge inter-Hungarian friendships. In our Student Travel Programme saw 22 000 pupils of over 600 secondary schools travel to another Hungarian community by crossing at least one border to mark national holidays and remembrance days. Within school semesters, the age group was served by high school students’ meetings, weekend trips involving pupils from two sides of the state border, summer camps, the Gloria Victis and Cultura Nostra history competitions, as well as support for hundreds of local initiatives in various secondary schools.
Throughout the previous summer, our 17 camps provided recreation to 4500 young people. On account of their accentuated role in conveying identity, we expressed our appreciation to Hungarian language and history teachers with networking events such as summer camps and conferences. Over the past year, we devoted special attention to reach out to high school headteachers, with whom we aimed to formulate effective cooperation.
Based on the request of the Hungarian Diaspora Council and with funding from the Government of Hungary, the Rákóczi Association’s Diaspora Programme is announced annually with the aim of providing young people with Hungarian roots throughout the world with an opportunity to attend a camp or educational tour in Hungary. The programme serves the establishment of relations and the strengthening of identity through enhancing knowledge of the Hungarian language and culture. Since being launched in 2016, opportunities provided by the Programme are exploited by 1000 youth from diaspora communities annually.
Rákóczi Association’s IT system underwent a number of developments in the year 2019, including the successful digitalization of the Hungarian School Choice Programme and several other processes related to our activity. In order to improve communication, our mobile app was published this year.
We seek to continue the full range of our programmes in the running year, with special attention to manifesting the creativity of Rákóczi Association’s young membership and team of staff in the colourful selection and youthful vigour of our activities to the highest possible degree.
The Association’s activity is enabled by its many supporters, including the Government of Hungary, municipal self-governments and not least corporate and private donors, on whose trust we continue to count upon. We owe gratitude to our membership, leaders of our local branch organizations, staff and all other selfless supporters of Rákóczi Association’s nation-building work.
The work of the Association’s central office is assisted by 19 young and devoted full-time employees, as well as a number of enthusiastic university students.