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Potapi: Weekend schools play prominent role in preserving Hungarian communities

Weekend schools operating in the diaspora worldwide play a prominent role in preserving Hungarian communities and Hungarian culture and language, Arpad Janos Potapi, the state secretary in charge of policies for Hungarian communities abroad, said on Saturday at the seventh meeting of the Hungarian weekend schools.

Potapi said such schools educate 11,000 children worldwide. He noted that some 2.5 million Hungarians live in diaspora communities outside of the Carpathian Basin, including third and fourth generation Hungarians, who have no language ties but are tied culturally and through their national feelings to Hungary.

Potapi noted that 2024 has been designated the year of the cooperative nation, and Hungary’s government has called 3 billion forints (EUR 7.7m) of tenders to support organisations operating in the Carpathian Basin and in the diaspora.

Diaspora organisations individually have a maximum of 5 million forints at their disposal to organise a Hungarian weekend that serves to nurture Hungarian language and identity. By the April 3 deadline, 2,390 applications were submitted with a total funding need of 996 million forints for the 500 million forint allocation.

NGOs operating in the Carpathian Basin outside of Hungary could apply for a maximum of 2 million forints for the implementation of education, training, sports, health and community preservation programs. The 2,161 applications submitted have a combined 3.8 billion forint financing requirement.

Hungarian municipalities can also apply for a maximum of 2 million forints of support to strengthen relations with sister cities.

Some 220,000 children in the Carpathian Basin are receiving support through the Hungarian in the homeland programme, which provides 100,000 forints in support to families outside of Hungary that enroll their children in educational institutions with Hungarian as a working language.

Potapi also noted that since 2016 some 900 nursery school and kindergarten renovation and construction projects were concluded in the Carpathian Basin and Hungary and 535,000 students were able to make school trips to the Hungarian-inhabited areas of the Carpathian Basin.

He also highlighted the importance of the Sandor Korosi Csoma scholarship scheme, camps organised by the Rakoczi Association and the Hungarian Scout Association in Exteris.

Deputy state secretary Peter Szilagyi said 250 weekend schools operate in the diaspora communities of which 92 were present at the meeting during the weekend, most of them from the United States.

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