The Mathilda Endowment Fund (hereinafter also EF) was established in 2010 and its mission is to support people with severe visual impairments. We look for, support and implement meaningful projects that make their lives easier for these people. On the one hand, we focus on projects that help educate blind and partially sighted people and, ultimately, make a significant contribution to their integration, including employment. We also deal with the education and training of guide dogs, which for many of them become indispensable helpers. We also create various cultural activities enabling the self-realization of young blind artists.
EF Mathilda is named after its patron and founder, Countess Mathilda Nostitz. More detailed information about Mrs. Mathilda can be found on the Patronka page.
The main idea of the NF is to connect three groups of people – those who need help with those who want to help and with those who know how to do it. Due to the limited financial support from the state, the endowment fund also deals with charitable activities which, in addition to obtaining financial resources, also acquaint the public with the issue of the visually impaired.
Mrs. Mathilda Nostitzová was born at the chateau in Planá near Mariánské Lázně as the eldest daughter of Count Karel Nostitz. Although her ancestors declared their Czech nationality, after the Communists came to power, the family left Czechoslovakia in June 1948. In 1970, Mathilda Nostitz married Italian diplomat Mario Quagliotti and accompanied him in many countries around the world. From 2006 to 2015, her husband held the office of Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta to the Czech Republic. Although the Countess has lived abroad since she was 12 years old, she has always been actively interested in the situation at home, where she could return only after 1989. Today she resides alternately in the Czech Republic and Italy.
You may be wondering how it all started? Why is Mrs. Mathilda dedicated to helping the blind? And where would she like to go in this area? You can find a lot of interesting information under the link to the article for Hospodářské noviny from November 2018.
The mission of EF Mathilda would not be possible without the dedicated work of our employees, friends and the support of our partners. The individual activities of the NF are variously organizationally and financially demanding, and we are convinced that it is not only important, but also necessary and instructive to be aware of this fact. We obtain finance both from our partners and through our own charitable activities, such as various auctions, the sale of our own calendar and a number of additional items through the e-shop, the organization of a charity golf tournament or a gala concert at the Estates Theater.
The next step is to raise puppies from eight weeks to one year. It is an insurmountable period of socialization and preparation of small puppies for demanding training of guide dogs. The whole process of training one dog will thus take us almost two years, which again increases costs. In addition, at any time during the period of upbringing and training, it may happen that the dog is withdrawn from training due to health, unsuitability of nature or others, and does not complete the training of the guide dog. Unfortunately, this situation inevitably occurs. Every fourth dog is excluded from education or training, in which case the state does not reimburse any costs associated with this excluded dog.
The standards of the International Federation of Guide Dogs result in the mandatory training of instructors – trainer of guide dogs. Each of our trainers is required to undergo a training course for instructors of spatial orientation and independent movement of blind people. The costs of training trainers are also not reimbursed by labor offices.
Thus, although the financial support of the state is significant, it is provided only after the dog is handed over to the client, ie more than two years from the beginning of the puppy preparation, and does not take into account all costs that modern guide dog training includes. However, cooperation with our partners allows us to constantly increase the quality of trained guide dogs. Thank you to everyone who helps us in our efforts!