HISTORY OF THE BÁTOR "KALÁKA"

Kaláka: is a traditional word for community work, where relatives, neighbours help each other in bigger works, like house building, harvests, etc. It is based on mutual help, in the old times it was strictly recorded: how many people, how many days...

The Foundation’s little team worked for years in small scale and with little financial support. In 2008 the Norwegian NGO Fund and EEA Grants found our „Kaláka” project worth supporting, so we won two years funding for our community work.

To begin with, we organized a training on local economy, including local money and LETSystems (Local Exchange Trade Systems)

The two-year project included the following elements:

- Organizing a LETSystem
- Group meetings every two weeks to talk about farming practices, green household, community questions
- „Kaláka” works
- Organic (permaculture) farming in the members’ gardens
- Field study tours to ecovillages, organic farms
- Trainings, education on permaculture, alternative energy, stove building, etc.
- Traditional handkrafts workshops, folkdance-evenings
- Film club to spread ideas and values wider among the local inhabitants
- Seed and plant exchanges to promote local species and variations (heirloom plants)
- Compilation of a local seed bank
- Hikes in the surrounding hills to collect herbs, forest fruits, mushrooms
- Workshops and „kaláka” works on healthy food conservation (canning, drying, etc.)
- Collection of old photos from the village inhabitants to compile a future exhibition about the history of Bátor
- Presentations in other villages, communities, gardeners’ associations

Most of these activities are still going on...

Our projects in 2011

"Kaláka" events

In cooperation with two other NGOs, the Gömör Environmental Landscape Development Association, from the North-East of Hungary, and the Lifetree Nature’s Friends Association from Kács, we organized a number of meetings, where we exchanged our experiences in special fields of work and NGO life, and helped the host NGO in their actual farming works.

Aims of the project were:
- to spread the idea of „kaláka” work, to provide the opportunity of experiencing mutual help for our members and volunteers
- to build informal cooperation with similar NGOs
- to learn from each other on the fields of sustainable development, community building and self-supply
- to build sustainable working relationships with the partner NGOs, networking

The project was supported by the National Civil Fund.

„Active Citizens” with the British Council

The British Council launched the „Active Citizen” programme in Heves County in 2010. Our Foundation joined as facilitator and participant as well. We took part in an international training for trainers, and a series of trainings up to March, 2011. As a result of the AC programme, we became a funding member of the Heves County Active Citizens Network, and won two micro-project supports for our local activities. One, the children’s village lifestyle camp will take place in summer 2012, the other, called „Pipi” („Chicken”) project is going on.

The latter includes heritage poultry breeding, and giving over within the community to those, who had a training on chicken breeding. This is a chain programme, the same amount of poultry has to be given over to others, as the person had received from the Foundation.

Continuous activites:

Volunteer programme
We have a guestroom for a maximum of 3 people, where we welcome volunteers, who want to take part in the actual works of a rural self-supplying household, and a cooperating community. You can learn here by doing: permaculture gardening, poultry breeding, sustainable housekeeping, old buildings reconstruction, etc. Please, write us before visiting, so that we can give all the information you need, and available dates.

Self-supplying activities
We chose rural lifestyle, because all the facilities are given here for self-supply. Our gardens are sufficient for the majority of our food, the remaining can be purchased by exchanges within the LETSystem. Several tools and objects can be created in our workshops, the firewood is legally available in the surrounding forests, we organize herb-and mushroom-picking hikes to the hills.
Our gardens are mostly cultivated without poisons, and mainly according to permaculture giudelines. We happily share our experiences with those interested. Every February and March we organize seed and plant exchanges, where everybody is invited, who feels like gardening. We also help our friends in the cities to build balcony gardens, and promote urban permaculture.
With the kind support of the British Council we run a native poultry breeding project.
At the end of summer, beginning of autumn we organize canning and drying „kaláka” works, where we also share our recipes, experineces.

Traditions
"There is a kind of tradition, that shows the way, and there is one, that misleads you. One teaches you to swim, the other sees you to the saloon of the sinking ship, saying: we have always had a good dinner here."
We learn the kind of tradition that takes us forward, helps in everyday work, teaches methoods, gives power for work and celebrations. We collect the old tools and horsedrawn equipments, local variants of vegetables and fruits, experiences, stories.
Our traditions are not only kept, but also lived – in folkdance evenings, handkraft workshops, where we share them with all interested.

MAGYAR