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Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Minority group using IT to show another type of communication and another view of our common world.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Hungary the deaf and hard hearing people have no possibility to partake in public discourse and the media in their own mother tongue: Hungarian sign language (which is other than spoken language and so the conceptual thinking of the two groups differs). Even though at some fora and TV programs they are supported by sign language interpreters, the stories, the information, the questions placed and answers given are always formed according to the thinking and language of the majority (hearing) society. The multi-layer group of the deaf and hard hearing want to have their world (culture and society) introduced to the others. The number of those already engaged directly (as implementors) is about 15 (25 in the next step and 40 in the long run), the community of those targeted (the deaf and hard hearing in Hungary)amounts to app. 60 000, but the Sign TV will strive to address the whole society of active Internet users in Hungary (app. 3.5 million), and later the deaf and hard hearing society of the Hungarian speaking communities in the whole Carpathian Basin (Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria; we have no precise data connecting here).

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Sign TV will be some kind of an online TV. The programs (interviews, studio talks and short films at the moment, magazine programs later) are and will be made by deaf and hard hearing people, so the questions placed by the riporters, the news published and the greatest part of the sentences formed in this medium reflect the thinking and the world of the deaf and hard hearing people. Most of those working for Sign TV (as volunteers) have been, are and will be trained by Nonprofit Media Centre Foundation in various fields (shooting, directing and editing films, etc.). As an online medium, Sign TV will be available 24 hours a day (the films are uploaded to YouTube at the moment). The staff of Sign TV are resolute to make high standard news and other programs so that mainstream media will be interested in using the materials (they will have the possibility to do so). Nonprofit Media Centre Foundation has various experiences of this type: how community media can influence the thematics and attitude of mainstream media. Sign TV uses the Internet as the place and space of operation and communication, and continuously seeks for the latest (free or cheap) solutions, therefore we try to make the best use of IT results in this field. From a societal respect, our project is innovative because the problem will be solved by the concerned group, each step will be made by them, so each step will serve the needs and interests of the target group. Also, Sign TV is a brilliant opportunity for a minority group to teach and influence the majority.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

1. Sz. W., 30, deaf young man with ambitions in the field of motion pictures, never having had the possibility to learn, practice and develop himself in film making since the infrastructural and professional conditions are not given in Hungary. Sign TV project has offered him the possibility of being trained, and the infrastructural background allowing him to coordinate the formation of a self-directing team of deaf and hard hearing people. Sz. and his fellows are now the volunteer colleagues of an alternative media surface allowing them to use their own mother tongue, developing and showing their talents and joining in public discourse. 2. M., 40, deaf woman who has always been interested in social and political questions, however, as Hungarian sign language differs from Hungarian spoken language (and its written version), and so the conceptual thinking of the deaf differs from that of the hearing, she has always had problems understanding the news transmitted by media, and she has hardly had the possibility to join in public discourse (either in speaking or writing - deaf people are usually weak in expressing themselves in writing). Sign TV uses her mother tongue (even the subtitles for the hearing viewers are written by 'bilingual' deaf people), and offers her to place questions, or even join in the work, and so connect to and influence public discourse.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We have no knowledge of any initiations in Hungary addressing the problem described above. So there are no competitors in a very close sense. Of course, mainstream media, the thematics and attitude of which Sign TV challenges, is a competitor for us in some way, however, our direct target group is a lot more specified than that of mainstream media. According to our opinion, mainstream media will not pose direct challenges to our project, it is rather disinterested and prejudicial which is likely to help (rather than obstruct) the success of our initiation. However, we are aware of the importance of becoming partners with mainstream media through which we can strengthen the change of attitudes of the majority society. The goup of our peers is made of the deaf and hard hearing people and their families and friends. Also, we hope to find contacts with similar initiations operating in other countries, and to make use of their experiences and knowledge.
About You
Nonprofit Media Centre Foundation
About You
First Name


Last Name


Twitter URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Nonprofit Media Centre Foundation

Organization Country

, BU

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

In spring of 2011 our Foundation was keeping a training for disabled people, amongst them deaf and hard hearing. The students’ task was to make a short film of any form. The deaf group decided to make a funny news program about the village where the training took place. The film was made and introduced, and later (at the pub) they asked themselves a question: why not make real news programs thematized, edited, etc. by them, and publish these on the Internet? Nonprofit Media Centre Foundation operates Civil WebTV which is an online, edited surface publishing short videos made by NGOs on stories, processes and event of public interest. Perhaps the idea and work of Civil WebTV helped our deaf friends to form their own plans. So together we decided to bring Sign TV to life.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

Sign TV is now of basic importance for its volunteers: they are absolutely aware of the significance of their work and are decided to improve their personal knowledge and their capabilities in team work. They have a strong feeling of competence and care. As the operation of Sign TV strengthens, new volunteers will be involved, and they will experience the same feeling of being capable, competent and responsible.
The deaf and hard hearing users of Sign TV will have the possibility to join the team (in various fields and places), so influence the work of Sign TV directly, therefore they will get the opportunity to influene the majority society with their own tools and knowledge. Also, they will experience that their world and thoughts are presented and represented authentically, they can put questions to various public figures and get answers from in their mother tongue. In Hungary there are about 60 000 deaf and hard hearing people, their family members amount to app. 200 000 people. As Sign TV extends its impact circle (hearing Hungarian society and the deaf groups of the Hungarian speaking communities in the Carpathian Basin), the number of the people accessed will grow.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

Openness and acceptance instead of strangeness and exclusion. The concerned people are not presented as minority persons but as citizens, teachers,champions, models, etc., and so they become examples for the members of the majority society. Also, they get the possibility to join public discourse along equal (or more equal) conditions. The idea (and the activities) can and need to be replicated since Sign TV can exert its impact efficiently in case new studios (virtual or real) are set up and new volunteers are involved. Within the next five years we build a network of Sign TV teams and studios (at least four within Hungary), and build contacts with the deaf and hard hearing groups of the Hungarian speaking communities in the Carpathian Basin (this means seven other countries) and others.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Independent web page with a weekly summerizing news program, 20 volunteers, 500 viewers a week.

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Starting the web page (Domain already registered and the volunteer programmer is already working.)

Task 2

Stabilizing the volunteer staff (training, motivation, fixing smaller teams working together, defining methods of cooperation).

Task 3

Dissemination of Sign TV programs, contact building (in Hungary and in Europe in order to learn from experiences).

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

3-4 monthly magazine programs, 25 volunteers, 5000 viewers a month, work contacts in 3 other countries.

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Involvement of professional journalists (as consultants and to help contact building with the mass media).

Task 2

Road show-like trainings in the country (at least 4) in order to involve and prepare new volunteers.

Task 3

Permanent organizational and contact building work (volunteers, partners, mainstream media). Fund raising.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

101 - 1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured


What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

One barrier is the lack of financial means. So far we have fought this problem by voluntary work and using the infrastructure and devices of Nonprofit Media Centre Foundation. In the future, too, Sign TV will mainly be operated by volunteers, however, at least one paid organizer is needed to provide the permanence of work. To achieve this we will do intensive fund raising activities.
The low publicity level of our materials is also a problem. It will suddenly improve when starts, however, we will pay strong attention to dissemination and contact building. We will also meet unexpected problems but we are convinced that our experiences and existing contact network together with our motivations and new contacts will help us through these difficulties.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

The Internet is getting bigger and bigger share in everyday life, and is becoming a stronger and stronger factor in the world of media. Both the users’ and the developers’ side is rapidly developing, the possibilities for “mere” citizens to join in and influence public discourses, decision making, social attitudes, etc. is growing day by day, and we are resolute to participate in and make use of these changes. Sign TV, which is an alternative medium maintained by a very conscious and resolute minority group, can be a good means to succeed in this.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

The idea of Sign TV is already under implementation. Financial support allows us to realize this initiation at a higher level (technology, cooperation contacts, professional training, involvement, dissemination, etc.), however, our volunteers' motivation ensures operation even if we fail to get other sources in the near future. They are full of alternative concepts on TV programs, fund raising, etc., and they and our Foundation have wide contacts in Hungary and abroad which we will build further in order to stabilize Sign TV.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

1. Volunteer work done by concerned people and hearing friends.
2. Personal donations (concerned people, families and others).
3. Small and medium-size companies (listed as financial supporters on web page, or even briefly presented if decided so).
4. In Hungary, one percent of personal income tax can be offered for civil organizations – gaining as much of this support as possible (the deaf and hard hearing society and their families are potential donors in this field).
5. Publishing ads on Sign TV (in case management decides to do so).
6. Alternative ways of fund raising: selling Sign TV T-shirts, badges, etc. at various events.
7. Applying for various supports (mainly Hungarian and European funds). 8. Cooperation and joining in partners' projects.

Tell us about your partnerships

Main partners: Foundation for Equal Rights - an organization that provides trainings, housing an employment for impaired people (various disabilities). We have very good contacts with this foundation, current cooperation: starting a local town TV epmloying impaired people; Sign Language Translator Service - help for our volunteers at any place and any time.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

Manager (Tamas Liling) - professional supervision, training, outer contacts, organization, fund raising. Editor in Chief - directing production, coordination of staff. Staff: 1. News collectors (3-5 p.), 2. Editors (3-4 p.), 3. Weekly editor in chief (4 p.), Newscasters (6-7 p.), Subtitlers (2 p.). One person fulfils several tasks. The weekly staff is made of 4-6 people according to their pledges (online calendar). Except for the shootings and staff meetings each step is made virtually. NMCF provides further organizational and fund raising background.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Human resources or talent, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

Sign TV - internet TV operated by deaf and hard hearing volunteers, supported by Nonprofit Media Centre Foundation, Hungary.