The RBIF would like to congratulate and welcome four new members joining the existing members on the Foundation Board. We are grateful and excited to have this group of individuals join us and bring their expertise and perspectives to the work of the foundation to further our goal of helping sick and underprivileged children in Hungary.

We asked the members to introduce themselves and their relationship with the Foundation.

 

Peter Hajnal – Managing Director (CEO) of Moore Hungary
How did you come across the RBIF?
I met RBIF Chairman Dougie Arnott last year thanks to a recommendation of a mutual friend. Why is it important for you to support the foundation?
There are lots of foundations in operation, but usually you do not know exactly where the support given is used. RBIF has a clear and transparent activity that helps to understand the path of the funds raised. Furthermore, the objective and goal of RBIF (helping sick and underprivileged children in Hungary) are very important and close to my heart.

 

Robin Marshall – editor-in-chief of the Budapest Business Journal
How did you come across the RBIF?
I arrived in Hungary in 1998 as the managing editor of The Budapest Sun, and while I missed the first Budapest Burns Supper that year, I did attend the second one in 1999. I think I was at every Burns Supper every year from then until we moved out of Budapest in 2007. The Budapest Sun was a media sponsor for the supper while I ran it, and I did pro bono communications work for the foundation for a few years after I left the newspaper in 2008.
Why is it important for you to support the foundation?
Having lived in Hungary for more than 20 years, with a Hungarian wife and three bilingual, dual nationality children, I think it is important to give something back to our community. The RBIF does such outstanding work with sick children, and it is lovely to be involved again with something that I saw develop from its early years.

 

Alan McGregor works in personal finance
How did you come across the RBIF?
I have been involved in Scottish charities in the past, and have known Douglas personally for more than 20 years.
Why is it important for you to support the foundation?
I think it is a wonderful way to celebrate Scottish culture, far from home, and bring that to a new audience, whilst raising much-needed resources for vital local projects.

 

Dr. Miklós Moldován – Head of Moldovan & Co Attorneys at Law and managing partner
How did you come across the RBIF?
My father Dr. András Moldován was a member of the board for quite some time. During his involvement with the foundation I attended RBIF fundraisers on many occasions, and also became acquainted to some extent with those running this organisation. Following (or rather creating) the tradition, I was honoured to be asked if I could replace him on the board.
Why is it important for you to support the foundation?
It is fundamental that everyone gives back to the community in some way. I believe the cause the RBIF stands for is of extraordinary importance in the midst of the many other charitable causes that need attention, and so it is my pleasure to pitch in to this common goal to the extent my abilities allow me to do so.

 

David Thompson – retired Chartered Accountant, a member of the Supervisory Board and Chair of the Audit Committee of the logistics company Waberer’s International Nyrt. since 2018. Before that, KPMG in the UK, the USA and Hungary for over 40 years, and audit partner at KPMG Hungary for 22 years, 1992-2014.
How did you come across the RBIF?
Through attending Burns Suppers since the 1990s.
Why is it important for you to support the foundation?
Firstly, it is a very good cause. RBIF helps hospitals and other institutions deliver much-needed services to newborn babies and disadvantaged children.

Secondly, and this matters to me as a Chartered Accountant, we take great care to ensure all the money everyone gives to RBIF is spent wisely.
– Everyone gives their time and skills for free.
– The Foundation has no employees or administration costs.
– We follow up; we check that the donations we make are spent on buying the equipment approved by us.

Thirdly, I am Scottish and I live in Hungary. I am delighted to support an emblematic Scottish cultural event here, the Burns Supper. Being Scottish and an accountant, I like it that we demonstrate through the Foundation the Scottish virtue of being ‘canny’ – we take good care to look after the money our donors entrust to us, and we ensure their donations are used wisely.

Last but not least, Burns is Scotland’s much loved national poet, very similarly to Petőfi in Hungary. I am lucky enough that at least 2 of my ancestors had personal links with Burns. One of my 4x great grandfathers, John Tennant, was a good friend and neighbour of Robert Burns’ father. John was one of the two witnesses who signed the poet’s birth certificate and much later, was a friend Burns turned to for advice. Burns also wrote a letter poem to one of John’s sons in which he names “Guid Old Glen” and several members of the family. Burns was also a friend of another of my 4x great grandfathers and refers to him in another letter. Small things, but fun associations with the world-famous poet! And they make it personal for me to support Burns ‘Immortal Memory’ through supporting the RBIF here in Hungary.

 

Dougie Arnott – Owner of EDMF Language Services Kft.
How did you come across the RBIF?
I volunteered to help out with the RBIF back in 2012, little did I know then it would become a significant part of my life. I have been Chairman of the Board since 2014.
Why is it important for you to support the foundation?
There are various pillars to the RBIF’s operations, first and foremost helping sick and underprivileged children in Hungary, a cause that I’m sure everyone thinks is worthy of promoting. Those running the Foundation are privileged simply in terms of enjoying good health and being able to give back to the community we now call home. Given that we are able to provide our support where it is much needed, I feel we have an obligation in this respect. By doing so we also promote cultural links between Scotland, the UK as a whole, and Hungary, equally a worthy objective in our minds.

A few months after our successful 25th Annual Budapest Burns Supper we would like to give you a bit of feedback on the progress we are making with the funds that you all raised in January.

We have identified projects with 6 different beneficiaries around the country, all of which will benefit sick children around Hungary.

 

The beneficiaries are:

1. Neonatal Department of the Péterfy Sándor utca Hospital, Budapest

2. 2nd Department of Paediatrics, Semmelweis University, Budapest

3. Paediatric Department of Szent Rafael Hospital, Zalaegerszeg

4. Péter Cerny Foundation for Premature Babies, Budapest

5. Paediatric Department of the Csongrád-Csanád County Health Centre, Hódmezővásárhely

6. Infant and Children’s Department at Mezőtúr Hospital, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok County

 

Five of these projects have already received the funding from the RBIF, and the much-needed equipment has already been ordered. After finalising the details on the 6th project we hope soon to be able to send that funding too.

Once the hospitals have taken possession of the equipment we will of course provide you with all the details and photos, so you can rest assured that your generosity at the January Burns Supper is being put to the best possible use!

Anyone who has been to a Burns Supper will not forget the rousing sound of bagpipes and drums in full flow. It really lends a great deal of authenticity to the event, and makes it a memorable night for Scots and non-Scots alike. But how much do you actually know about the pipers and drummers who perform for us every year? Did you know there are World Champions in the ballroom every year? Did you know that this is often the only time they now play together?

We asked Stevie Brown about who the band are, where they come from, and most importantly, why do they come back year after year…

 

Most of us played together at Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band and have known each other for around 35 years. We live all over Scotland, and mostly having retired from competing now, we get together especially to come to Budapest.

It is an honour and a privilege to be invited to join you once again this year and we are delighted to congratulate the RBIF on the occasion of the 25th Burns Supper to raise funds for the Foundation and the worthy causes it supports.

We have been very fortunate, in the past, to have competed at the highest level, winning numerous titles, including multiple World Championships. We have been afforded the opportunity to travel the world, we’ve appeared on TV shows, met celebrities and made recordings, even earning a gold disc for a collaboration with traditional musicians from across Europe.

 

However, to be associated with the RBIF for around 20 years has provided us with the most gratifying and humbling experiences, not only entertaining guests at the Burns Supper, but actively engaging with the children who benefit from the charity work of the Foundation.

 

We have played for youngsters in hospital cancer wards, orphanages, schools and community centres and cannot overstate the effects these visits have had on us. We hope that we have left the children with even a fraction of the memories with which they have provided us.

 

Budapest has become a very special place for us and the friendships formed here will last for many years to come. We wish the RBIF continued success in all its ventures in the future and are eternally grateful to be acknowledged by the Foundation as the charity’s official pipers and drummers.

The RBIF has supported the Infant and Paediatric Department at the Szent Rafael Hospital in Zalaegerszeg for a number of years now, in collaboration with FirstMed Centers, as part of our SME Sponsorship Scheme.

In 2021, despite not being able to hold our normal Burns Supper in January, the Robert Burns International Foundation helped to fund KARL STORZ laparoscopic instruments for paediatric surgery, and an ARDO CALYPSO double plus breast pump.

In past decades, the paediatric surgery department of the Szent Rafael Hospital was only able to perform operations using traditional surgical techniques. In recent years, however, and following international trends, an increasing number of operations on children have been performed with minimally invasive techniques, which require special equipment.

The department is steadily building up a set of laparoscopic instruments that can be used for important diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. With the current donation, additional instruments were acquired to perform more complex abdominal procedures in a minimally invasive way, even on the smallest children. This means less pain, a faster recovery and, no less important, a more cosmetically favourable outcome.

The equipment purchased with the help of the RBIF has constituted a major step forward for paediatric surgery at the hospital.

The department is committed to the breastfeeding of newborns and premature babies. The electric breast pump is more practical and quicker to use than manual milking. It has 2 suction heads, allowing mothers to milk both breasts at the same time. This method not only cuts milking time in half, but also helps to increase milk production and maintain volume. The milking is carried out in a closed system, which is important from a hygiene point of view.

The Head of the Infant and Paediatric Department Dr. László Gárdos said

Our thanks goes to the Robert Burns International Foundation, for your donation of equipment to the children’s ward of the St. Rafael Hospital in Zala County, which has contributed to improving the quality of care and the recovery and physical and mental development of the infants and children cared for on the wards.

In 2021 the Robert Burns International Foundation continued its support of the Hódmezővásárhely-Makó Paediatric Department of the Csongrád-Csanád County Health Care Centre. This donation was part of our SME Sponsorship Scheme, and was enabled by the continued involvement of Inter Relocation Kft.

The RBIF funded the purchase of a Natus neoBLUE compact phototherapy device and two EDAN iM3 patient monitors.

The neoBLUE compact is a phototherapy device for the treatment of neonatal jaundice. The LED light sources in the device emit blue light at the right wavelength, which causes the bile pigment bilirubin – that accumulates in the blood and causes jaundice – to break down and reduce blood levels. This procedure effectively treats neonatal jaundice and in a significant proportion of cases prevents extreme bilirubin accumulation, which can lead to brain damage if left untreated. Its compact size makes it easy to move and position.

According to consultant physician and head of department Dr Ferenc Papp:

We already had one of these devices in our neonatal unit, but felt we needed another as we often have several babies requiring light treatment at the same time. In such cases, we could only do so with a 30–40-year-old device that is less efficient with fluorescent tubes. We can now provide modern light treatment for two newborns at the same time in our department. The need for a second device is also explained by the significant increase in the number of newborns in the hospital in Hódmezővásárhely (in 2020, the number of births per year increased by 50% compared to previous years).

The two EDAN iM3 patient monitors purchased with the donation will be used primarily to monitor the basic vital signs of sick newborns and infants. The device records and displays blood oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure on a touch screen display. The parameters are clearly visible, even from a distance, which increases the safety of patient monitoring. The device was selected for its ease of use, compact size and the fact that the signal processing is less sensitive to movement, making it particularly suitable for use with newborns and infants. The two new monitors complement the older monitors in our department but are better in terms of functionality.

A big thank you to Inter Relocation for the continued support in the SME Sponsorship Scheme.

 

The Robert Burns International Foundation has donated equipment to the 2nd Department of Paediatrics at Semmelweis University in Tűzoltó utca every year since the roots of the Foundation were laid in 1998.

Following in his late father’s footsteps, Professor Dr. György Fekete led the 2nd Department until his semi-retirement in 2009. Author of 118 paediatric publications with 1034 citations, we are proud that he continues to advise the Foundation each year on deserving causes for the support of sick and underprivileged children around Hungary. In such capacities, he has long been recognised as one of the country’s unsung heroes for sick children. The Foundation is lucky to continue to be advised by a man of such professional international standing and integrity.

In 2021 the 2nd Department of Paediatrics requested the help of the RBIF to buy a Biometra TAdvanced gradient PCR machine. This device is what is known as a thermal cycler, a piece of laboratory equipment most commonly used to amplify segments of DNA via polymerase chain reaction(PCR). Thermal cyclers may also be used in laboratories to facilitate other temperature-sensitive reactions, including restriction enzyme digestion or rapid diagnostics. The device has a thermal block with holes where tubes holding the reaction mixtures can be inserted. The cycler then raises and lowers the temperature of the block in discrete, pre-programmed steps.

According to Professor Fekete:

We currently have set up the device to detect copy number variation (CNV) characteristic for Di-George Syndrome.

The symptoms here can vary, often including congenital heart problems, specific facial features, frequent infections, developmental delay, learning problems and cleft palate.

We have successfully applied the CNV detection assay for Di-George Syndrome for more than 25 patient samples, and we currently plan to do 20 samples/month for this assay. Furthermore, by February 2022 we plan to set methylation-sensitive assays for imprinting-related genetic disorders.

 

The Péterfy Sándor Street Hospital, located in District 7, is one of Budapest’s oldest and largest hospitals with nearly 1,600 beds, where patients can be treated for many different ailments and conditions. 

The neonatal wing is run by Dr Gábor Baross, who with the support of his team can deal with anything between 500 and 600 premature babies every year with a maximum capacity to accommodate 20 to 30 babies at any one time.

This department of the hospital has been a beneficiary of support from the Robert Burns International Foundation for many years, and when we asked Dr Boross what would be most useful in 2021, he revealed that a heated humidifier was top of their list.

Babies that are born can find themselves in need of ventilation for various reasons, and this is where humidifiers like that purchased by the RBIF are invaluable.

According to Dr. Boross,

with this device and its accessories they can ventilate newborn babies much more gently. The breathing circuits that were purchased along with the main device ensure that the noses of the babies are subject to less irritation, and therefore much more rarely cause an injury when compared to the circuits that we used to use.

The MD850 heated humidifier is a robust system that is designed to withstand daily hospital use, and so it will provide significant support for the doctors and nurses in their challenging day-to-day activities.

Thanks to the generosity of the guests and sponsors of the annual Burns Supper the Robert Burns International Foundation is able to help make sure that the department always has the necessary number of functional and reliable equipment at its disposal.

As part of our SME Sponsorship Scheme we endeavour to support smaller yet no less important projects around the country, and in 2021 we were delighted to be able to return to Székesfehérvár to provide support for the second time.

Norhot Kft. is a real estate company based in Budapest, and the owners joined our scheme for the first time in 2020, identifying Fejér county as the region that they wished to support.

When Norkot Kft. came back to us in the spring saying that they wanted to take part in the SME Sponsorship Scheme again, it made sense to go back to Dr Gábor Simon, who runs the paediatric department at the Szent György University Hospital in Székesfehérvár, to ask how we could help.

The doctors and nurses at the paediatric department revealed that their work would best be facilitated by the addition of a Euromex iScope trinocular microscope.

According to Dr Simon,

the microscope not only helps with the day-to-day work of the department (quality blood counts, urine sediment), it is also used for training purposes. The examined substance can be projected onto a screen by means of the attached camera, while the photos taken can be stored for teaching and training purposes. The microscope that the department previously used was old and obsolete, had been repaired several times, and was not suitable even for routine examinations.

The other request was for a digital blood pressure measurement device combined with a pulse oximeter.

This device that comes with a wide range of cuffs makes it possible to record precise blood pressure measurements even of newborns, and to measure the blood oxygen concentration of patients struggling with severe respiratory problems. This latter parameter is crucial for deciding whether to give a patient continuous oxygen or transfer them to intensive care for further treatment.

A big thank you to Norhot Kft. for their kind donation.

On 29th August 2021 the RBIF held its fourth annual BBQ at the Chefparade Country venue in Etyek.

The day started in bright sunshine in keeping with the end of August date, and we welcomed around 90 people to the fantastic venue that is Chefparade in Etyek.

With plenty of space for kids to run around the venue is the perfect location to relax as the summer draws to a close, and we were certainly well looked after.

BBQ cuisine

Paul Mizener and his team at the Chefparade cooking school had been preparing the food for up to 48 hours in some cases, and this was evident in the range of delicious meats they put on: Salmon steaks, chicken thighs prepared in the smoker, burnt end chili, the most amazing fillet steak, and the ever-popular BBQ pulled pork, accompanied by coleslaw, pickles and potatoes.

And if that were not enough, at the end we were able to enjoy Paul’s famous brownie, you need to taste it to believe it.

Fine wines

But it wasn’t all about the food, once again we enjoyed the support of the Etyeki Kúria Winery, who popped over from their neighbouring estate and allowed us to taste some great wines, the Pláne Frizzante White, the Kúria Sauvignon Blanc, and the Kúria Red, all perfectly suited to the weather and the food.

 

As the afternoon wore on, the clouds gathered and we were treated to a huge rainstorm, but fortunately we are well catered for at Chefparade and were all able to move under the shelter of the pergola to enjoy the rest of the afternoon in great company.

The event couldn’t have been the success it was without the support of our sponsors particularly the Budapest British International School, our main BBQ sponsor.

We look forward to seeing you all next year!

Just click on the photo below to view all the pictures from the BBQ:

photos: Amy Arnott

A big thank you to everyone who ordered one of the Burns Supper Hampers, and we hope you enjoyed a traditional Burns Night meal from the comfort of your own home.

Despite being largely closed since the spring, the team at the Corinthia Hotel were a huge help to us in making their facilities available once more, and ensuring that the hampers were filled with all that you needed to enjoy Burns Night.

Continued support

In what has been a very difficult 12 months for everyone we are grateful for the continued support of Arran Distillery and Zwack/Diageo for providing our whisky, to Kovács Nimrod Winery for the lovely wines, Magyar&Sons for the pálinka, Törley for the champagne, I.J. Mellis for the cheese, and to UPS for arranging the transport of the haggis and cheese directly from Scotland.

The money raised from the hampers will be put towards our charity projects in 2021, along with the kind donations that we have received as well.

SME Sponsorship Scheme

Should you wish to support the RBIF in 2021, possibly joining our SME Sponsorship Scheme to support smaller-scale projects at children’s hospitals around the country, please get in touch.

This year UPS not only had to contend with the restrictions brought on by the pandemic, but also the problems of Brexit, and they came through with flying colours, as ever. If you think UPS could be of help to you or your business, please contact them directly, by helping our sponsors you help the RBIF!

Summary of 2020

2020 was a busy year for the RBIF, despite all the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Normally we provide you all with a printed brochure of our activities at the Burns Supper, but this year, you can access it electronically below. We hope you enjoy reading what your donations facilitated last year.

Follow us and stay updated

Make sure you like the RBIF Facebook page or follow us on Instagram or Twitter to be sure of hearing all the details about next year’s event in good time, and to find out what projects the RBIF will be supporting throughout 2020.

The Robert Burns International Foundation (RBIF) is supported by the British Ambassador to Hungary and the Hungarian Ambassador to the UK. The Honorary President of the foundation is Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United football club. In the last 20 years the organisation has raised several hundred thousand euros to help sick and underprivileged children.

Contact: info@rbif.hu