The Gyöngyvirág Children’s Home in Budapest’s 18th District is home for up to 40 children between 3 and 18 years of age. Some are orphans, but the majority are children who have been taken into care by law. They are looked after by a team of dedicated care workers who provide physical and mental support for them day and night, working in shifts. The children attend local schools during term time.

The Home is part of the state-run network of the Social and Children’s Protection Directorate and all staff salaries and operational costs are covered by the state. However, central budgets typically provide only the bare minimum. Further, having to submit requests via a central administration means procurement is typically a lengthy process, sometimes leaving the home with broken equipment for years.

RBIF teamed up with Budapest Airport, RBIF’s Sponsor of the Year in 2019 and a long-time supporter of the Home, to fund the purchase of furniture and equipment in 2019 following a recent refurbishment of the home by the state.

In 2020, RBIF made a further donation to the Gyöngyvirág Home. The staff have used our donation to fund the purchase of fridges, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances – items which help make everyday life easier for staff and children in lots of ways. Our donation has also funded the strengthening of the WiFi signal throughout the home and the purchase a printer. Both proved invaluable to help support the children in their online digital home leaning during the pandemic.

Last but not least, our donation has funded purchases of televisions and a karaoke speaker. The speaker helps inject extra opportunities for fun into the various activities and entertainment organised within the home.

In 2020 the Robert Burns International Foundation continued its support of the Paediatric Department at the Csongrád-Csanád County Health Centre in Hódmezővásárhely purchasing equipment that ensures non-invasive respiratory support for babies and infants. This donation was part of our SME Sponsorship Scheme, and was enabled by the continued involvement of Inter Relocation Kft.

The nurses and doctors at the department frequently encounter babies suffering from respiratory problems like acute bronchiolitis, often as a result of a virus (respiratory syncytial virus). In some cases this leads to severe respiratory symptoms and the babies need admitted to hospital, and the situation can be compounded by other factors, such as premature birth, heart disorders or congenital disorders.

Most problems arise between the autumn and the spring, particularly in January and February. Using the respiratory system purchased using the support of the RBIF and Inter Relocation, the doctors and nurses can primarily help alleviate upper respiratory infections, thereby helping them get better as soon as possible.

Until now we could only rely on traditional oxygen therapy as we did not have the necessary equipment to hand, which meant some of the babies had to be transferred to other hospitals for treatment. Thanks to the donation we can now treat these severe cases too using modern, non-invasive respiratory treatment. – Dr Ferenc Papp, consultant physician and head of department.

This “high flow nasal cannula therapy” (HFNC) is a heated and humidified system that allows a prescribed fraction of inspired oxygen levels to be delivered at very high flow rates, helping babies and children to breathe and take in enough oxygen. It is a treatment used in the event of mild to moderate respiratory problems, mainly virus-induced respiratory inflammations.

The donated equipment was the Fisher&Paykel 850 Optiflow HFNC system, and it is better than traditional oxygen therapy for various reasons, among others, the required oxygen concentration can be administered more accurately and the high flow of gas cleans the pharynx, minimising the carbon dioxide inhaled back into the body, which raises the efficiency of the oxygen treatment. Compared to other respiratory therapies this is much more comfortable and easier to tolerate for the babies and children.

With the donated equipment the hospital can treat six severe cases at the same time, which comes as a huge help to the staff in Hódmezővásárhely, not to mention the little patients.

For the second year running and in cooperation with our long-time sponsor Budapest Airport, the RBIF was able to support the Neonatal Department at the Bajcsy-Zsilinsky Hospital in Budapest’s 10th district.

The department cares for approximately 200 babies each year, with between 15 and 20 babies on the ward at any one time. They are currently undergoing a renovation which will provide them with two wings within the department, one for natural births and the other for C-section births.

The RBIF was able to provide two pieces of equipment this year. The first item was a Bionet Patient Monitor. This device is versatile, compact, portable and lightweight, making it easy to move from room to room, and it provides advanced parameters and analysis for accurate patient care, which can be so important in those first few hours of a newborn’s life.

The second item the hospital asked for was an incubator, but this time an open incubator. One advantage of this type of incubator, as opposed to a closed one, is that although it does not have the same level of control over humidity, it is easier to achieve that all important skin-to-skin contact as it is possible to touch the baby from above.

Senior neonatologist at the Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital, Dr. Judit Jeager, revealed that:

The open incubator, which is also a warming-resuscitation table, was used in our temporary operating theatre from the moment it arrived at the hospital. The new open incubator is used daily by babies born by c-section for whom it is so necessary to be placed in a warm environment. Currently, our temporary operating theatre is part of the hospital’s operating theatre wing, where it is cooler than otherwise optimal for newborns due to the central air conditioning. Our new open incubator heats up perfectly to the desired temperature so that newborns do not cool down during care.

According to Dr. Jeager, the renovation of the department has been underway since October, which means that neither the maternity ward, nor the operating theatre (dedicated for c-sections) are usable. Both are at temporary locations within the hospital, which is why it has been extremely important to be able to provide newborns with modern equipment. When the reconstruction is complete, they will be able to use both devices in the renovated maternity ward and in the theatre.

We thank the Foundation for its support in modernising the equipment of the Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital’s Neonatal Department.

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.

In 2010, recommended by the British Embassy, Professor Fekete led the highly successful Royal Visit of the Duchess of Cornwall and the British Ambassador around this department. The Foundation is lucky to continue to be advised by a man of such professional international standing and integrity.

This year, the second department requested Electro-Thermal Bipolar Vessel Sealing (EBVS) equipment for electro surgery. This is used for sealing blood vessels of up to 7mm in diameter.

The devices fuse vessel walls and create seals using a combination of electrical current and mechanical pressure, creating strong seals via the targeted, feedback-controlled delivery of compression and heat, resulting in significantly less intraoperative and postoperative bleeding. – Dr. Zoltán Jenővári, Head of Surgery.

Long overdue in SOTE II, the technology was originally introduced in 1998 and since then has been used widely for a variety of laparoscopic and open surgical procedures worldwide, making them safer and more efficient. The procedure especially benefits children with challenging tumours.

Dr. Jenővári added:

We are extremely pleased that the Foundation supported the acquisition of these devices which provide much help in improving the surgical treatment of hundreds of our patients every year. Our grateful thanks in the name of the patients and surgeons as well.


The SME Sponsorship Scheme has gone from strength to strength since it was launched a number of years ago, and we were delighted this year to be able to support a hospital in Fejér county for the first 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.

As is custom with our new donations we turned to the RBIF’s medical adviser, Professor György Fekete, to help us in our search for a worthy beneficiary. We were put in contact with Dr Gábor Simon, who runs the paediatric department at the Szent György University Hospital in Székesfehérvár.

The doctors and nurses at the paediatric department revealed that volumetric pumps would be most useful for their daily work, and asked if we could help. Thanks to the generosity of Norhot Kft., and with the RBIF matching the donation, we were able to fund the purchase of two Alaris volumetric pumps and an infusion stand.

According to Dr Simon,

The Alaris volumetric pumps are extremely useful for the department. When treating children, especially those in critical conditions, it is crucial for fluid and volume replacement to be precise and aligned with body weight. Medicines administered in certain infusions can be dosed with precision thanks to the volumetric pumps.

The pumps offer a versatile and flexible platform for infusion therapy, which is suitable across a broad range of applications, and they have a range of features suited to drug therapy, blood transfusions and parenteral feeding, with a large, clear display and intuitive operation.

A big thank you to Norhot Kft. for their kind donation, and for agreeing to continue their involvement in 2021, so we can look forward to completing another project next year.

Every year the Robert Burns International Foundation encourages small and medium-sized businesses to get involved in our charity work by means of the SME Sponsorship Scheme.

Running for several years now, this scheme enables companies to make targeted donations to specific projects helping sick and underprivileged children around the country. All donations are doubled by the RBIF to really make a difference to the project in question. What is more, the sponsor in question can choose which part of the country they wish to support.

WhiskyNet need no introduction to those who are familiar with the Annual Budapest Burns Supper. A long-standing and successful company ensuring Hungary is well supplied with the finest whiskies that Scotland and the world has to offer, not to mention a fine supply of gins and rums, the owners Zsolt and Kati contacted the RBIF in early 2020 with their intention to join the SME Sponsorship Scheme. After identifying eastern Hungary as their preferred area, and following the advice of our medical adviser Prof. György Fekete, we settled on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Debrecen University Clinical Centre.

Discussions with Head Physician Tamás Kovács resulted in the choice of equipment being a Novos Bililed Maxi device, which is used for the phototherapy treatment of jaundice in newborn babies.

Jaundice is a common phenomenon in the days immediately after birth; it is generally mild, and soon passes by itself. However, high levels of bilirubin in the blood can cause the jaundice to more pronounced, leading to drowsiness, eating difficulties and therefore dehydration. In some cases jaundice can be a symptom of more extreme underlying diseases, which in turn can cause brain damage and/or require blood transfusions.

Head Physician Tamás Kovács:

This device purchased with the help of the Robert Burns International Foundation is very effective and can be used continuously. It converts the bilirubin in the skin making it easier to travel harmlessly through the body. It helps newborns and premature babies to overcome their jaundice more quickly, and in serious cases to avoid risky blood transfusions, and we could not have purchased it without the help of the RBIF.

The Péterfy Sándor Street Hospital, located in District 7, is one of Budapest’s oldest and largest hospitals in Budapest 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 following the most recent donation of equipment received in 2019, a further easing and enabling of the teams to work with premature babies, was planned in 2020.

The funds provided by the Foundation made the departments work easier and the care of premature babies became safer. During the year the department’s wards were renovated and the “kis-mama” rooms were redecorated.

Further donations also enabled replacement of the old workstations of the preterm-infant nurses, providing them with modern, much more practical and comfortable ones.

According to Gábor Boross:

This not only means better working conditions for the nurses and employees, it also helps us ensure safer patient care.

Completing the year’s donation also provided for 3 Mindray uMEC 10-12 monitors complete with stands and accessories for them. These monitors are fixtures in the department and are used on a daily basis. In past years the RBIF has donated several monitors of this type, and they have proven their reliability with easy and user-friendly operation. Their constant usage dictates that over time they need to be replaced, and 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.

The forecast all week held out the prospect of rain, but again we were fortunate with the weather as 100 guests descended on the wine village of Etyek for the RBIF’s 3rd Annual BBQ on 30 August 2020.

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: BBQ spare ribs, chicken thighs prepared in the smoker, burnt end chili, 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 Rose, and the Kúria Red, all perfectly suited to the weather and the food.

Sponsors’ help is crucial

Events like the BBQ don’t fund themselves, so we were very grateful for the help of Mike Glover and his team at Taxually (“VAT compliance has never been easier”), whose generous offer of sponsorship enabled us to hold this year’s event. We raised almost HUF 200,000 which will be put towards our projects in 2021.

We were fortunate to be able to organise the BBQ against the background of COVID-19 and all the complications it brings, and fingers crossed we will see you all again in January for the Burns Supper at the Corinthia Hotel.

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

photos: Pelle Zoltán

On 31 July – 1 August 2020 the RBIF took part in a charity golf weekend to help raise money for the Foundation for Saving Premature Babies and Paediatric Intensive Care in Zalaegerszeg, one of the RBIF’s key partners in 2020.  

This foundation raises money for the paediatric unit at the Szent Rafael Hospital in Zalaegerszeg, and for the last two years the RBIF has been a key contributor in collaboration with FirstMed Centers, as part of our SME Sponsorship Scheme.

The objective of the weekend was to raise money for a new outdoor rehabilitation area at the hospital, giving children who spend weeks and months in hospital the opportunity to make progress in their recovery in the fresh air.

Some of the children who stayed in the paediatric unit as premature babies featured on posters showing just how much they had achieved since those early days, and what their dreams are. If you can help us fulfil those dreams, like horse-riding in the sunset or having a little dog then please let us know!

The tournament was named the Steven Dick Memorial in memory of Deputy UK Ambassador and RBIF Curatorium member Steven Dick, who sadly fell victim to Covid-19 earlier this year, and Ambassador Iain Lindsay also attended the event, even winning the Men’s B category. Well done to him!

Steven attended the Zalaegerszeg foundation’s 10th anniversary dinner in February along with Douglas Arnott, the RBIF’s chairman, where they handed over deserved awards to nurses with long service records. At the golf event the organisers put together a very touching video of Steven’s time in Zalaegerszeg, which you can view below.

The weekend was a great success, raising over HUF 2 million for the outdoor rehabilitation area, and the RBIF will be looking to boost this sum next year.

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: [email protected]

January 2020 seems so long away now given all that has happened in the meantime, but at the RBIF we have been working hard to make sure the funds raised at the 23rd Annual Burns Supper are spent on worthy causes, as promised.

We have supported the paediatric unit 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.

With the continued help of Dennis Diokno and his team, along with funds raised at the Burns Supper, were we able to purchase three different sizes of videolaryngoscope along with a monitor that has wifi capability. Videolaryngoscopy is a technique that utilises video camera technology to visualise airway structures and facilitate endotracheal intubation.

Particularly in the current situation this equipment is extremely important to the functioning of the department. Dr. László Gárdos, Chief Physician of the Paediatric Department at the Szent Rafael Hospital in Zalaegerszeg, said:

When the Premature Baby Rescue and Paediatric IC Foundation was established we undertook to save the lives of premature babies, and to support, in any way possible, those children who are seriously ill and require intensive care.

We have been doing so for 10 years, and over this time we have received the support of the Robert Burns International Foundation on several occasions, for which we are extremely grateful!

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: [email protected]