Career Path as Opposed to an Inescapable Life Path

Project owner: Van Helyed Alapítvány (You Belong Foundation)

Responsible person: Bódis Kriszta


2,000 Euro Prize


Civil Society / Social Economy

What is it about?

The You Belong! System provides a path out for trapped, disadvantaged, predominantly Roma people. YBS is distinct from currently available models of integration in that it functions as a system with a long-term time span: the holistic, education-focused socialization of children begins in the womb and continues throughout their life till tertiary education or employment. It is based on partnership and two-sided commitment. It is characterized by services, institutions and a unique methodology building on each other such as a system of patrons, involvement of families, creativity-focus.


The growing number of uneducated people constitutes a global issue endangering climate protection, economic growth, and aspects of a decent and dignified life. In Hungary there are 1200 slums, where predominantly Roma children live in segregation, receiving sub-quality education. By 2050 the number of dependents per 100 people of active age will rise to 60.


The Career Path as Opposed to an Inescapable Life Path project has created a prototype system which guarantees a way out of destitution. It allows for equal access to education, knowledge and wealth throughout the entirety of one’s life path. The You Belong Foundation offers a path to a vocation and degree.


The primary actors are disadvantaged Roma children growing up locked in a system with their families and communities. The project also includes 120 people intensively supported in the You Belong institutions from Ózd-Budapest, as well as 1000 participants and their families from segregated communities.


In the “You Belong” system, 100% of those supported complete elementary school (as opposed to 70% of disadvantaged people nationally), 100% of those continue schooling after elementary school (as opposed to the regional index of 2%), 95% complete high school (as opposed to the regional index of 30%), and 50% go on to tertiary education (as opposed to the national 1.4%).


The Ózd/Budapest prototype was constructed in such a way as to be transferable to any region or country (near a segregated community, ghetto or refugee camp), as a franchise, responding to local needs, and at the same time it can be expanded as numbers require.

Appreciation of the Jury

The project convinces through its holistic method for the integration of Roma in society. Be it education, health care, or the job market, this project maps the needs of their target group and develops a systemic approach to accompany project participants through their entire life path. The results in poverty reduction, education outcomes and, all in all, the emancipation of Roma, speak for themselves: the project provides effective support to interrupt the circle of poverty. An excellent example of successful social innovation!