The backbone of the Tour 4 Charity project is raising money for Charity, and choosing the right organization to support was of utmost importance to us. As much as we need to maintain the highest quality tours and service to represent our chosen charity, we also needed a charity of repute; with a positive public image to flagship our program. Rather than approach a world-famous international franchise, we decided to invest in a local community group with whom we could work hand-in-hand and maintain close contact.
To meet our high standards, we chose the local NGO “Chance 4 Children,” (C4C) a project that’s been operating in the Czech Republic since 1996. It began as the joint hobby of its two founders, Manfred and Rafael, and has since grown into one of the most productive, effective, and wide-reaching NGO’s in central Europe.
Chance 4 Children operates three programs, each one different, yet with a singular focus: improving the lives of disadvantaged Children. The first program, “Robin Hood” began as a small collection and redistribution initiative for a single orphanage, but has since grown to reach 383 orphan institutions in The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Romania, and Bulgaria, providing over thirty million dollars’ worth of aid throughout.
Three years after Robin Hood came the birth of the next program, “Dr. Clown,” a laughter therapy program for children in hospitals- a concept inspired by the world-renowned social activist Dr. Hunter Doherty Patch Adams. Chance 4 Children employs a team of professional clowns to visit critically ill children undergoing intensive treatments in hospitals and help them have a fighting chance at recovery, using laughter as their key medicine. More than just clowns, these men and women train in child psychology and specialize in empowering children who are otherwise stripped of all choice to undergo long, often risky or painful drug treatments.
Doctor Clown has since secured the support of one of the world’s largest and most popular toy brands- LEGO who have donated over 300 pallets, enough to fill two football fields. As of now, every one of the 476 hospitals in the Czech Republic and Slovakia combined are equipped with LEGO and DUPLO, allowing approximately 26,000 hospitalized children access to toys every day.
In 2003 began C4C’s latest and possibly most impactive project: “Springboard to Life” an education initiative. The environment in which orphaned children are raised sadly lacks the essential nurturing, education, and life-preparation provided by the stable family. Instead, constantly surrounded by peers, they develop a toughness and mob mentality, which, outside of their homes, leads to a life of crime, drugs, prostitution, and gangs for a tragic 60% majority of these youth.
“Springboard to Life,” as the name implies, is designed to equip orphans with the necessary life-skills for when the time comes to fly the nest and integrate into society. A team of qualified, professional teachers make a full-time job of visiting children’s homes and teaching them a wide range of practical skills such as Computer IT, hairstyling, baking, music (fill in more), a curriculum that ends with a valid diploma to help them find legitimate jobs and become valuable members of society. For the kids currently participating in this program, the bar of success has literally been doubled from a mere 40% to over 80% chance of success.
The sky is truly the limit with this work and the only thing to hold it back is finances. Funding is an endless black hole that can never be filled. There is always room for more. With a yearly audit proving a steady 95% turnover rate, C4C is certainly a legitimate cause worthy of our support. We hope that in time Tour 4 Charity will be a major contributor to this worthy project, and help them significantly expand their reach.
In the meantime, there are many ways in which you can lend support to the cause. Visit their web page www.c4c.cz to learn more about them, their latest projects, and how you too can make a difference in the local community.