The Mars Foundation (Mars autistákért Alapítvány in Hungarian) was established in 2017 so that families with an autistic family member do not to feel left alone in the universe.
The main goal of the Foundation is to provide the most recent and evidence based information and to build an interactive, helping and caring community in Hungary.
In order to help the families navigate in the Hungarian care system, the foundation provides counselling, information materials, and organise parent trainings. Our motto is quality and sustainability.
- Training for parents whose child is recently diagnosed with autism
- Develop an interactive online platform to exchange information amongst the affected ones
- Online counselling for family members of autistic children, involving experts
- Informative classes for elementary and high school students about autism, minorities, acceptance
- Courses for teachers working in mainstream kindergartens and schools with autistic pupils.
- Awareness raising campaigns for an accessible society for persons with autism
- Social Impact measurement on the result of the parent trainings
- Research on the quality of life of the families with autistic member
- Financial support / grants for experts to attend international conferences
- Importing update knowledge through international projects
- Advocacy campaigns (Education, Job)
Founder & Director
Zsuzsanna is the director of Mars Foundation. She has been involved in autism organisations, both in Hungary and at the European level, for the past fifteen years. Zsuzsanna was the president of the Hungarian Autistic Society for four years and has played a key role in advocating for the rights of people with autism in Hungary, as well as providing advice to organisations and families about their rights and best practices. She also played a central role in the organisation of the 2013 Autism-Europe’s XI International Congress which was held in Budapest, Hungary.
She has been the president of Autism Europe since 2012.
In addition to her work for autism, Zsuzsanna is also the mother of a young adult with autism in need of a high-level of support and works in a DI project.
Zsuzsanna speaks Hungarian, English, Spanish and German.
Organizing events and keeping in touch with people is not only her profession, but also her passion. Edit got closer to autism in 2013 when she became the project manager of the Autism-Europe’s XI Congress in Budapest from the organizing agency. She met Zsuzsanna Szilvasy during this time, and since then she has been working on supporting the cause of autism and Zsuzsanna’s work. She handles the administrative tasks of the foundation, organises parent trainings and coordinates projects.
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.
The Innovative Vocational Education for Autism (IVEA) project aims at fostering social inclusion of people with autism through employment by developing a European holistic guide.
People on the autism spectrum usually struggle to gain and maintain employment for a range of reasons. The most obvious of these is their inherent difficulties with communication and social interaction, which affect their abilities to understand employers’ expectations and communicate effectively with managers and colleagues.
The project brings together universities, and autism associations, professionals and NGOs across Europe to create a new European Guide for the effective vocational training of autistic people in order to contribute for their successful employment.
This is an ERASMUS + strategic, exchange of good practices project.
There are 4 participants:
- Mars Autism Foundation - Hungary
- Autism Serbia - Serbia
- JiM Foundation - Poland
- The Key Association - Romania
The main goal is to explore how other associations (foundations) in different countries are supporting the families with an autistic (or other developmental disorder) member. Are they searching and connecting them proactively? Is there any structure to keep the connection with them? What channel/method is used during the communication with the families? What kind of support the families mostly need? How the partners are collecting the needs?
We come together regularly during the two years, once in every country. (Except Hungary, that organizes two meetings: kick off and closing). We meet with local families and experiencing how the family support is organized in various countries. Between the meetings we are collecting all our experiences and new ideas.
The final goal is to have a collection of methods and ideas of family support at the end of the second year. Also every country can try a new channel, or a new approach that learned from a partner country.
Reviews - Professional Partners
„After a diagnosis of autism, it is vital that families get the support and information they so desperately need. This empowers them and gives them the confidence needed to face the challenges ahead. I’m really pleased the Mars Autism Foundation has been established to help and support families. Zsuzsanna’ s long and varied experience championing the cause of families and working alongside statutory authorities will make a massive difference to the lives of autistic children and their families in Hungary.” – Carol Povey, director of the Centre for Autism
National Autistic Society (UK) – www.autism.org.uk/
„Congratulations on your new foundation. It is absolutely fantastic news. I know that it would provide much needed resource to parents that need it. In this era of social media and the opportunity for everyone to share their opinion whether they are based on scientific research or not it would be especially important to ensure that families get helpful material they need but which is also based on research.” - Saima Wazed Hossain, chairperson of the exucutive committee
Suchona Foundation (Bangladesh) – www.shuchona.org/
„Mars Foundation is addressing vital unmet needs in the Hungarian autism community. By providing families of newly diagnosed children with actionable knowledge, training and a strong sense of community, Mars will help enhance the development of the affected child, the well being of the family, as well as foster their inclusion into society." – Andy Shih, senior vicepresident
Autism Speaks (US) - www.autismspeaks.org
"Nowdays so many information is available about autism, and they are sometimes so confusing that it makes the life of the families with an autistic member even more difficult. The Mars Foundation's mission, to support these families, to give them autism specific knowledge and to teach them how they can stand up for themselves is important and great.
As Zsuzsanna has a large experience on autism and advocacy on international level, for sur she will transfer the most up to date information and knowledge for the families in Hungary" – Vesna Petrovic, president of managing board
Serbian Society of Autism (Serbia) - http://autizam.org.rs/
„I am sincerely grateful to you for all that you do for all people with autism and for their families. From our Coalition of organizations of parents of children with autism in Russia, I wish you all the best! I wish you great success in all your projects.” – Igor Shpitsberg, director
Our Sunny World (RU)- solnechnymir.ru/