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Country, Date of election

Hungary 2003



Zsuzsa Csato is promoting independent living as a viable option for people with mental handicaps. She is empowering families to care for dependents at home and then move them into independent living situations. By helping both the families and the persons with handicaps prepare and deal with the transition, she is preventing people with handicaps from being forced into institutional environments.


The basic problem she faced was that mentally challenged people have very limited opportunities in the fields of housing, employment and lifestyle. They have no future right from the outset of their adulthood. In most cases, they are put in a boarding institution deprived of their autonomy and separated from their family.


Besides establishing two entirely unique programs (the training and the residency programs), Csupaszív also created numerous jobs for the participants. They have received enormous positive feedback from the participants who not only developed and learned a lot and acquired a sense of achievement, but also achieved this in a way that they enjoyed. Zsuzsa and her colleagues have used their experience and made studies culminating in their book:  Light: mentally challenged people’s way to the open labor 


Zsuzsa would like to create a system where disabled people can achieve maximum autonomy and hence maximum happiness. Her goal was to find another, more human way for them where they can fulfill their goals and be part of society and pursue their own personal and emotional development. With Csupaszív she provides them with training programs, daytime employment and boarding opportunities at an accessible price, so they can prepare for an independent life.


Zsuzsa’s ‘down to earth’ dream is to keep the current,  voluntary-based, communal and developing practices of collective dance, sports, vacations, guidance, and to extend it for disabled adults and their families in particular. Her further dreams are the establishment of a complex, daytime institution for disabled adults; supported individual housing; the organization of complex leisure activities concerning the individual needs; and to support an independent life for the parents without their children. The farthest and biggest  dream of Zsuzsa is if she looks around she’ll see her  disabled friends and their families smiling and happy, healthy and active.


When her daughter Bori was born, Zsuzsa instantly knew that her life from then on would be devoted to improving the situation of people with similar problems. She first became aware of the gravity of the problem when she realized the limited opportunities of after-school programs and the total lack of a system.  She knew then that change is essential.


Society of People with Golden Heart / Csupaszívek Társasága

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