What it costs
The mission of the Mathilda foundation could never be successful without the work of our employees, friends and the support of our partners. The individual activities of the foundation have different organizational and financial demands, and we believe that it is not only important but also necessary and in fact instructive to keep this in mind. We obtain funding both from our partners and via our own benefit activities such as various auctions, sale of our own calendar and a range of supplementary items on our e-shop, organization of the benefit golf tournament or the gala concert in the Estates Theater.
So, what do our projects for clients cost?
While the costs of organizing social and cultural events for the visually impaired range only in thousands of Czech Crowns, the organization of concerts and purchase of musical instruments costs tens of thousands. Similar amounts also go to long-distance IT support for the blind and organization of special courses.
However, the most expensive of our activities is the purchase, training and upbringing of guide dogs. The costs for one dog include, as a bare minimum, its purchase, training, quality feed, regular veterinary check-ups, remuneration for trainers, transfer of the dog including required equipment, and subsequent care for the client – working with the client after handing over the guide dog, teaching the routes to the dog, and help for the dog and the owner to get used to one another. This whole process spans 6 – 8 months, costs nearly 250 thousand Czech Crowns, and is usually mostly funded by the employment bureau after a demonstration of expended costs (90% of costs are refunded).
The bare minimum specified above however does not match modern trends in the training of guide dogs – we are actively in contact with international agencies and adhere to the standards of the International Guide Dog Federation. The process of training guide dogs at the Mathilda foundation begins with breeding; this area is not supported by the government at all, and the purchase of a single breeding female dog exceeds 25 thousand Euros. The breeding itself, birth and upbringing of puppies, operation of the maternity clinic, increased veterinary costs – none of this is directly supported by the state.
The next step is then the training of puppies between eight weeks and one year. This is a crucial period of socialization and preparation of young puppies for the demanding training of guide dogs. The whole training process for a single dog thus takes nearly two years, leading to even higher costs. Additionally, at any time during the upbringing and training it can happen that a dog has to be removed from the training program – reasons include medical problems, unsuitable character and others. This situation is sometimes unavoidable, and every fourth dog is removed from training; in this case the state does not refund any of the training costs associated with such a dog.
The standards of the International Guide Dog Federation include mandatory training for instructors – trainers of guide dogs. Each of our trainers has completed the course on spatial orientation and independent movement of blind individuals. The costs for trainers are also not covered by employment bureaus.
All in all, even though the support provided by the state is significant, it is only provided after a dog is actually handed over to a client, i.e., more than two years after the preparation for training a puppy had begun. It also does not take into account all the costs of modern training of guide dogs. However, our collaboration with partners allows us to continuously improve the quality of trained guide dogs. We would like to thank everyone who help us in our efforts!