Settlement (as the English word is used as technical term borrowed by the Hungarian language) is one of the oldest forerunners of the socialised institutional mode of operation. A ‘settlement’ could today be described, on the one hand, as a community development centre and on the other hand, as a multifunctional integrated human public service provider institution.
The most important examples include the Toynbee Hall in the East End of London (1884) or Hull House of Chicago (1889), or, in Hungary, the initiative called Újpesti Szociális Főiskolai Telep (social college settlement in the village of Újpest) (1914-1949). The latter was launched as an institution fulfilling a true intellectual vocation with the aim of “raising” and “educating” the “working class”, enabling university students to do field work to “reconcile” social classes. It took the approach of establishing social institutions where poor people lived and it involved university students and volunteers in its activities. Voluntary activities played a major role in the operation of the institution in Újpest as well, because it had little funding for paying staff members; therefore in its activities it involved teachers, professionals and tradesmen (e.g. for teaching housekeeping subjects) along with young people with social sensitiveness wishing to work for the benefit of others. The requisites for social advancement were provided by the General People Protection Department (its units: people’s office, family patronage, youth patronage, trainee and employment exchange), the Public Education Department (its units: people’s library, workers reading community, general knowledge dissemination lectures, training courses and seminars, children’s daycare home, trainee young men’s and women’s and workers’ circles, scouts) and the Social Health Agency (its units: pulmonary and venereal clinic and doctors’ office, bacteriology and X-ray laboratory). In the caregiver, people’s education and health activities professionals were joined by university and college students, practical field workers and volunteers.
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