The Hétes is one of the 16 segregated neighbourhoods around Ózd. It used to be a workers' community which gradually fell apart after the collapse of the Ózd Metallurgical Complex in the wake of the disintegration of the Iron Curtain. Hétes, already lacking most luxuries, became a subject of ghettoisation: non-Romani residents, as well as the more affluent Romani families, quickly moved out. The ones who stayed had been living on welfare and occasional jobs, accumulating enormous utility debts, seeing their homes fall to pieces. Social problems and criminal activity had been dominating the perception of Hétes by the rest of Ózd - and the local government saw the demolition of the entire settlement as the only solution.
Our goal is to improve the living conditions in Hétes. One of our most important achievements is the fact that the settlement hasn't been demolished. We have been repairing homes -and, after serious conflicts, we were able to install recharge card-operated electric meters on the houses of Hétes which led to the end of electricity theft and freed the community from the life threatening, ruined mains. We have built a main square within the settlement with benches, which is becoming a popular meeting spot for the residents. Kitchen gardens blossom again and in 2012 a bath house opened with warm water showers, water closets and washing machines available to Hétes families.
In the Hétes, a series of generations has been born into complete hopelessness. Nevertheless, the future of the settlement depends on the children, therefore we put a huge emphasis on their creative education. To ensure this we run our Creative Center midway between Hétes and the city centre where volunteers give art courses to them. Besides these, we provide extra-curricular classes, internet access and media facilities to the children of the slum. One of the most prominent parts of our program is our Creative Camp which we've held every August since 2007. The Camp is one whole week of creative and cultural programs. We are proud to say that many Hétes residents are also active as volunteers for the Foundation.
We aim at achieving results that are not beneficial to the Hétes only. Debt-management and the development of infrastructure, the employment of Hétes residents in our programs etc. - these provide solutions to decade-old problems in the area, to the relief of the local government and utility companies. We assist in perfecting methods which the local government of Ózd can install elsewhere as well, regardless of the ethnic etc. characteristics of the residents in need. We also engage the residents of other settlements in our programs which softens the introversion typical of those living in segregation.