At the Pure Heart centre for hobby activities in Slovakia, children and young people are given the opportunity to take part in organised after-school activities.
It is late afternoon on a typical spring day in the idyllic village of Veľké Leváre in western Slovakia. Outside the local shops, groups of young people are gathering in small circles, talking, drinking and smoking cigarettes.
"We could see a lot of kids and young people in our village having nothing to do after school," said Mária Biksadská of the municipal office in Veľké Leváre. "The village does not offer much in terms of after school activities, so most kids end up hanging out on the streets, where they often are introduced to smoking, drinking and drugs at a very young age."
Through a joint initiative by the municipality, the NGO Ciste sdce, and the local primary school, a new hobby centre has been established to cater for the needs of local youth. "The support from the EEA Grants enabled us to contact youth on the street and kids struggling at school, in order to offer them fun activities and an opportunity to think differently about life." Through providing meaningful activities, Biksadská and her team aim to support the local youngsters in leaving behind bad habits such as smoking, drinking, drugs and skipping school.
Every afternoon of the working week, children flock to the centre to play board games and cards, draw and paint. The new fully equipped computer room has proved very popular among the visitors. Local volunteers are always present to look after the children, and to help them with homework and other activities. Some 60 children attend the centre regularly, where they participate in a range of activities, from homework support to a debating club, drama classes, folk dance and singing. The centre also organises activities for special holidays, and a series of weekend programmes and workshops are in the pipeline.
PURE HEART, Záhorie Centre of Hobby Activities
Human resource development
Type & project assistance:
The community of Velké Leváre
Type of institution:
EEA Grants and Norway Grants
Grant agreement date:
14 September 2008
The purpose of the Project is to broaden the offer of after-school activities for youth and children in Velké Leváre, with the overall objective of preventing negative social effects on children and youth (addictions, criminality, truancy, early school leaving, drop-out). Reference is made to the application dated 22 March 2006 and to subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.
The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:
- Planning, renovating, refurbishing indoor and outdoor premises and purchasing equipment related to the establishment and running of activities of the Pure Heart Zahorie Centre of Hobby Activities
- Developing a needs assessment for hobby activities
- Running activities, including advisory activities, regular and summer after-school activities and workshops in the area,
- Management and promotional activities
The Project Promoter is the Municipality of Velké Leváre. Subject to national law, the Project shall be implemented in partnership with the local elementary school, the Pure Heart civic association (NGO), and members of the local Evangelical and Catholic congregations.
The Focal Point shall ensure that the Slovak Government provides at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible Project costs.