ELFAC Price 2014
Here are the recipients of the first ELFAC prizes, handed out at the European Large Families Conference in Cascais (Portugal) in September 2014.
Particular Large Family
FERNANDO and LEONOR CASTRO
Fernando and Leonor Castro were founders of the Portuguese Association of Large Families APFN and its main driving force since then, with Fernando being the President of APFN till his untimely death. They lived an exemplary family life, raising 13 children. They were known as people of firm conviction, generous and loving, deeply religious-minded. Fernando turned to public affairs with great devotion. Through his activity in the interest of families he became a figure in Portuguese society who could not be by-passed. He had a great influence on most people who got close to him. As one of the obituaries to him put: he was regarded as the ‘father’ of large families.
Fernando had a crucial role also in the foundation of the European Large Families Confederation, of which he became the President, also until his death. He invested much energy in order to advance the case of families on a European level. He was highly cooperative, supporting every good idea. Till his very death he worked for large families, in his last months preparing the European Large Families Conference that is taking place now. All this would have been impossible without the care and the constant support of his wife Leonor.
THE GOVERNMENT OF HUNGARY
The Government of Hungary receives the award as an acknowledgment for the Erzsébet Programme. This central recreational programme backed and supported by the Hungarian Government is the most widespread and successful social programme of Hungary, the biggest social programme of the last 20 years and, no doubt, a real European success story. In a country of 10 million, 260 thousand people – including 100 thousand children and more than 50 thousand people from large families – have spent their vacation in the last two years with the programme, most of them for a symbolic fee.
Each year the amount of 10 million Euros is dedicated to the Erzsébet Programme, which offers holiday opportunity for large families, retired or handicapped people, and organises summer camps for socially disadvantaged children, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to have any summer vacation. More than 50 types of camp are organised for the children with the heading of Olympic champions, artists and experts. The fee of a week’s vacation with fullboard and programmes is between 3-30 Euros per child depending on family income. A family with three children get a week’s vacation for 60 euros.
The programme does not require any budgetary contribution. It is exclusively financed by the distribution of meal vouchers – a type of fringe benefit –, which can be purchased by employers for their employees with lower taxation than the salary in cash. The programme has proven to be a self-sufficient, viable project, which can function without state budget resources, as an effective social tool in the years of economic downturn.
MUNICIPALITY OF ALCORCÓN (SPAIN)
The Municipality of Alcorcón has introduced the family perspective in all policies in a fully and determined way. Moreover, it has constituted a Family Department, which allows to give special attention to large families and their needs. To understand better the reality and provide advanced resources, the Municipality of Alcorcón has created a Municipal Register of Large Families, raised the range of tax relieve on housing from 60% to 80% and obtained a discount of 50% in local schools for activities and sports facilities. Furthermore, it has instituted a Defender of Family, Children and Seniors to respond to any complaints, suggestions or requests of families and to monitor municipal actions in order that they always consider the family perspective.
The city has at its disposal a Municipal Council for the Family in order to maintain a permanent dialogue with local organizations dealing with families, especially with the Large Families Association. Moreover, it has launched a program for sustainable maternity to support the care of younger children. A special label of “Alcorcón Council” has been created to recognize companies that facilitate the maintenance of work and family life balance. It has launched a schools of parents and grandparents. Organizing activities for the whole family, such as a “white week” in the snow, family hiking or cultural visits, Alcorcón emphasizes the importance of the family in every person’s life. The city of Alcorcón has been one of the founders of the “Family-Friendly Cities Network of the Region of Madrid” to promote policies supportive towards families and to exchange experiences.
This is one of the oldest and most famous Italian magazines, the biggest one focused on family, in Italy and perhaps in the whole of Europe. Founded in 1931, with a circulation of over 450.000 copies, it provides weekly news, information and culture in the service of the family. The mission of the magazine is an open commitment to family values, focusing on the family as the central unit of society under cultural, social and political aspects.
“Famiglia Cristiana believes in the family as a social and civil resource” as is said in its presentation, aiming to be a “guidance and support for women and men today, for mothers and fathers with their children.” And indeed it does: in time Famiglia Cristiana has given voice to family values, telling stories that no other paper would tell, describing fathers, mothers and their children in their everyday efforts, with sincerity and compassion. It publishes articles on politics, economics, education, together with recipes, spirituality and health, because in the life of a family there are many different aspects to take care of.
In the last decade, Famiglia Cristiana has witnessed the birth and the growth of the Italian Large Family Association, following its development, sharing its battles towards equity in taxation and tariffs as well as towards restoring the image of the large family as a source of joy and values for society. It has told stories of large families, a model of family otherwise quite ignored by the media, with its problems and its values, its joys and sufferings. It does this with respect and honesty, standing by those families in severe need with concrete help and support.
PROCTER & GAMBLE
This company gave significant support to large families and Associations of Large Families in Portugal and Spain.