United Way Hungary seeks to empower children and young people in Hungary by providing them with the tools they need to fulfill their potential and thus take control of their lives. We achieve that through financial education enabling them to grow into successful, independent, self-sustaining adults.
Our goal is to equip children and youth, especially those already in need or at risk of poverty and hardship, with the skills and competences demanded by our increasingly complex world. In doing so, we contribute to laying the foundations for their future financial stability and well-being.
The vast majority of the Hungarian population has little or no financial literacy at all – a problem posing the greatest danger for the most underprivileged children of the poverty-stricken social stratum. As parents struggling to make ends meet are rarely in a position to pass down viable good practices to their children, schools play a crucial role in teaching children basic financial concepts and skills.
United Way Hungary has therefore initiated and launched a program titled SmartShop, designed for lasting impact and change in elementary school students’ financial awareness. SmartShop is a financial education and reward system aiming to advance financial literacy in this age group by incorporating the benefits of the program into children’s daily routine. Students get points for volunteer work, for goals attained, for academic progress, for involvement in school activities, for helping a fellow student or serving the common good of their immediate community. They can then trade their points for Frankos, a kind of virtual currency enabling them to purchase books, toys, stationery, sports gear or even class programs in the SmartShop point stores run by their school.
Using the point system as a form of financial motivation makes for long-lasting, sustainable impacts.Teachers report on a distinctly visible improvement in students’ academic performance, personal growth, social skills, motivation and discipline, with the associated bonus of home assignments being done and turned in on time, school apparel missing less frequently and classrooms being kept cleaner. Children involved in the program are also more willing to do community work and less likely to miss school. Without exception, it seems, the efforts for collective goals result in a stronger sense of community, teaching students the importance of collaboration and shared responsibility. An added benefit of the program is teachers being inspired to share good practices and find new ways and platforms of collaboration, information exchange and knowledge transfer. Thus, the impact can be multiplied within a short period of time.
United Way Hungary provides ongoing guidance, training and tailor-made assistance to the introduction and sustainable maintenance of both SmartShops and the motivational point system behind it. Our goal is the creation of a network of volunteer teachers spanning the whole of Hungary.
Participating Elementary Schools:
Göcsej Kapuja Bak Általános Iskola (Bak)
Buji II. Rákóczi Ferenc Általános Iskola és alapfokú Művészeti Iskola (Buj)
Herman Ottó Általános Iskola (Budapest XXI. ker.)
Szent János Katolikus Óvoda, általános Iskola és AMI (Egyek)
Hetvehelyi Általános Iskola (Hetvehely)
Lajosmizsei Fekete István Sportiskolai Általános Iskola (Lajosmizse)
Sárospataki Református Kollégium Gimnáziuma, Általános Iskolája és Diákotthona (Sárospatak)
Homoki Általános Iskola (Tiszaföldvár)