Dragonfly is an ecological and cultural educational program for children, organized by the NGO Liget Műhely Alapítvány. The program is based on a quarterly children’s magazine that publishes contemporary children’s literature and articles about various topics, from natural sciences to art history. Working since 2008 with state approval it is appreciated by various educational and cultural organizations. The program currently works in 42 schools in Hungary and the Hungarian-speaking parts of Romania, Slovakia and Serbia.


The experts of Pressley Ridge Hungary Foundation and International Parents’ Alliance co-operated in designing the workshops and meetings of the program.


Targeting 11–14 years old Roma girls living in socially disadvantaged areas of Hungary, the Future Memory project is based on Dragonfly’s unique educational methodology that integrates experimental, environmental and art education to facilitate an enjoyable learning process for the students and to provide them with a safe and understanding environment by educating the adults they are most often in connection with.

Researchers have determined that many of the same brain structures are involved in both remembering and forecasting. They looked at activity in the brain’s default network, which includes the hippocampus as well as regions that involve processing personal information, spatial navigation, and sensory information. They found that activity in many of these regions was almost completely overlapping when people remembered and imagined future events.

In our western culture, the life script is something like: go to school, move out of your parents’ place, get one or more college degrees, find a job, fall in love, get married, buy a house, have kids, retire, have grandchildren, die. However, these milestones of life are not available for disadvantaged children, because there are no such life scripts in their environment that they could learn from and imitate. Therefore, when picturing their future life, these children revert back to the failures of their parents and grandparents, re-enacting their wrong decisions (e.g. early pregnancy, dropping out of school). Research also shows that by simply talking about ideas and plans, the brain creates so-called “future memories”. These can be further strengthened by interactive drama games thus providing disadvantaged children with a pool of future memories and the possibility of imagining a different way of life.


The two teachers who work with the students in the two locations organize weekly interactive workshops for the students. The activity plans are worked out by the trainer and the educational experts and sent to the teachers who can make slight modifications to adapt them to the needs of the students.

It would be useless to work only with the children, because most of their problems are rooted in their family background and the widespread social exclusion of the Roma. We have to create a safe environment for them by counselling their teachers, families and the local administrators, as well.

In order to create this environment, monthly group meetings are organized for all stakeholders. The meetings are designed by using the Art of Hosting to create a safe background community for the students, but these are also important for the schools, because they show an ideal communicative method that can be applied to unite adults for the best interest of the children. During the activities family members do not necessarily join the same group as we intend these meetings to help in building a strong community where adults feel responsible for all the children, not just their own.

The Art of Hosting offers a blend of some of the most powerful methods to create open and meaningful conversation that leads to commitment and good results. It is based on mutual respect, which is essential when dealing with the Roma who are often humiliated by the Hungarian authorities. Working with a range of collaborative methods – like The Way of Council, Appreciative Inquiry, ProAction Café, storytelling and more – the trainers adapt the approach to their context and purpose. Each meeting has a different topic targeting one of the specific objectives (e. g. victimization, gender roles, education, career plans, networking).


For two years (2018-19) the students received a scholarship at the last week of each month they had successfully participated in the program. Experience in similar projects shows that it is better to give the scholarship towards the end of the month, because by then the socially disadvantaged families typically run out of money, and this relatively small amount can make all the difference. As this source of income will only be available if the child attends the workshops regularly, the family must support the child’s attendance. Unfortunately, due to budget restrictions, the scholarship is no longer available.


In 2021 the project was accepted into the Transnational Education Mentoring Partnerships TEMP Programme under the Partnerships for pathways to higher education and science engagement in regional clusters of open schooling PHERECLOS project (HORIZON 2020, 824630).

This resulted in various changes in the project. The focus of the workshops shifted to science engagements. The Serbian school of Petőfi Sándor Általános Iskola in Gornji Breg has also become a locale of implementation. This is a school for the Hungarian minority. The school in Tiszafüred has included Roma boys, not just girls in the programme, while the school in Salgótarján decided to work with only Roma girls. Thus the three participating schools work with very different students, providing an ideal opportunity for comparison.

Due to the COVID restrictions, the workshops that included adults could not be organized. Instead, online teacher trainings and a dissemination event were organized and the workshop plans are adapted to English language to make international dissemination possible.