The Committee of Good Will was founded in the beginning of 1990 by Olga Havel (1933 – 1996), the first wife of Václav Havel, the President of the Czech Republic, in the tradition of the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted and Charta 77. The mission of the Committee of Good Will – Olga Havel Foundation (OHF) is to help people who, because of their poor health or social status, find it difficult to integrate into society or cannot care for themselves without other people’s assistance.
The Committee of Good Will – Olga Havel Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary
What have we achieved during those 25 years?
- The OHF distributed contributions in the amount of CZK 700,000,000.
- The OHF organised rehabilitation stays for more than 23,000 children from the northern part of the Czech Republic with chronic respiratory disease.
- Multiannual scholarships for 460 physically or socially handicapped students were given. Another 473 students received one-time contribution to study aids, tuition, courses, etc. In total, CZK 25,000,000 was spent on this purpose from the Educational Fund, a joint project of the OHF and ČSOB.
- The OHF arranged a two-month internship in the USA, Canada and France for more than 150 doctors from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
- The OHF enabled 800 doctors of all specialities to participate in top medical seminars in Austria.
- The OHF helped more than 9,000 children from children's homes to spend their holiday in Croatia.
- After the floods in 1997, the OHF contributed to the restoration of public buildings and households in 31 villages in Moravia. After the floods in 2002, it helped in the dealing with flood consequences in 55 cases.
- The Olga Havel Award was given to 20 individuals who despite their own handicap help other disadvantaged people actively.
- The OHF activities were supported by thirteen sister organisations in France, Switzerland (two), Denmark, Netherlands (two), Austria, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden, UK and USA.
- More than CZK 20,000,000 has been collected at the Benefit Concerts of Good Will organized by the Kocián Šolc Balaštík Law Firm in aid of the OHF during 20 years.
History of the Foundation
The Committee was registered by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic on 12 April 1990. The Committee’s mission was to appeal to moral conscience of a society and to draw attention to shortcomings in the social policy of the state and in the work of social, healthcare, educational and other institutions. Furthermore it decided to provide, according to its possibilities, organisational and financial assistance in those specific cases where no other organisation or facility could do so. And finally to support and nurture emerging humanitarian projects.
On 23 September 1992, the Olga Havel Foundation was registered. Since then, the organisation uses the compound name Committee of Good Will – Olga Havel Foundation. As its founder, Olga Havel made sure that all applications were professionally evaluated, that donations were properly used, that assistance was provided promptly, and that the Foundation nurtured its contacts with both donors and beneficiaries. These principles are followed by the Foundation up to this day.
In accordance with Act No. 227/1997 on foundations and endowment funds, the Foundation was registered in the Foundation Register administered by the Municipal Court in Prague, section N, ile 69, dated 14 December 1998.
Establishment of the Committee of Good Will – Olga Havel Foundation has motivated groups of Czech compatriots in western countries to set up organisations to support its activities.
At the beginning of 1990 and in the following years, sister organisations were established in Austria, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, the USA, Canada, France and Germany. Those establishments were acts of compatriot´s loyalty to their homeland, just after November 1989. Each organisation had the statute of a charitable organisation in their country, but all the donations were directed to support programs of the OHF. Most of the activities, such as climatic stays for children with poor health in the Alps, were aimed at children living in the Czech Republic, and in the beginning in the Slovak Republic, too.
Every two years, the Committee of Good Will organised a meeting of sister organisations. In 2000, establishers of sister organisations were awarded with a memorial medal of Olga Havel on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Foundation´s establishment.
After the Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004, these sister organisations remained:
- Norwegian sister organisation (Jana Strømsnes from Bergen) - supports the educational needs of socially disadvantaged children in the Czech Republic
- L' Association Olga Havel, Branch Helvétique - supports education of students with disabilities and/or social handicap in the Czech Republic
- Canadian Czechoslovak Fund for Medicine and Rehabilitation - supports selected projects for adults with a mental handicap and Roma children
- Deutsche Freunde und Förderer der Olga Havel Stiftung, e. V. – supports the so-called trans-border social and educational projects in the Czech Republic