The Deaf Club and Association in Budapest, Hungary is known as Siketek és Nagyothallók Országos Szövetsége (SINOSZ), which translates into “National Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”
It is a non-profit national advocacy organization funded by legislation of Hungary actively promoting social integration while encouraging the support of improving the quality of life, providing resources according to the real needs based on demand, stimulating accessibility processes across the country, and having the facilities to give the sense of community.
Before I elaborate on my visit at the Deaf Club and Association, let me tell you something funny… My friend and I agreed to meet up at the Deaf Club, but what I didn’t know was that my friend actually meant the recreation and sports center that had been run by SINOSZ.
Therefore, I took the Internet for granted when I looked up their official site and found the address then went there just to find that my friend “stood me up,” but, as I had mentioned, he was actually stood up by me at the Sports Centre because I didn’t go to the right place.
Anyways, I found another friend who would show me around the office of SINOSZ and lead me to me where the Sports Centre was actually at on the next day.
This center was near the Szechenyi Baths, so my friend and I met up nearby for me to show me the center first.
Let’s say my friend, Pető-Plaszkó Zsolt, is pretty much a celebrity to the Deaf community as he once participated in a Hungarian television game show named One Minute. He won plenty of games in that show.
Thus, he was well-connected to the Deaf community in Budapest. He didn’t have a problem taking me to the center and elaborated on the history of the association.
The entire history started around back in 1900s when the initiative of starting a national organization began and the involvement of starting the association started in 1902. The Minister of the Interior by Hungary’s Parliamentary granted funding to the association to continue their work for the Deaf community.
However, this specific center wasn’t the first. They actually went through several centers before settling on this one as this had been the most spacious and Deaf-friendly to them.
They had this nice reception desk with a friendly assistant. I started meeting more Deaf people there, mostly the elders as they mentioned that this center had most older people coming as it was cozy and easy to get around for them. They had a huge room that could be considered as the multipurpose room with snack bar where they could purchase refreshments when they have social events there.
You would see nice historical photographs and documents in frames on most of the walls. Many of them were of famous Hungarian Deaf actors. You wouldn’t be able to resist contemplating their artworks of paintings and sculptures. A lot of them were hands, but so beautiful to look at.
At that point, a nice guy from the staff of the association wanted to show me the offices and meeting rooms where I got to see piles of paperwork, documents all over them alongside with beautiful frames and artworks on the walls. He showed me around a bit and filled me in a little on their history timeline with their photographs. I could see how deep their history were at that point and it gave me the goosebumps when I was learning the facts. It felt good.
After this, Zsolt took me to the “Deaf Club” that my other friend meant to meet me at the other day.
It took us around 40 minutes of transporting via their public bus.
Okay, when they say Deaf Club, they actually meant a club.
Maybe I’m exaggerating, but they do have a bar where you can purchase alcoholic beverage along with soft drinks they have on their menu. Not only that, they got all sorts of activities you can find in a recreation and sports center. They have a fitness center, large gym and two soccer fields!
Truth to be told, I was blew away by the size of the building and their soccer fields. They made it a “community center” for the Deaf, mostly young ones, to gather up for recreational and fitness purposes.
Many Deaf people were there but I wasn’t sure if it had been that usual, so I asked Zsolt about it. He affirmed that many people tend to come here and socialize. As mentioned, mostly young ones.
Mind-blown. Deaf clubs like this are pretty much extinct in the States. I don’t really see many of this in the States.
However, they’re still struggling financially to keep up with the recreation center because not as many as they used to get ages ago. They used to get over 400-500 Deaf people at once, but the modern technology with social media changed everything, so everybody spreads out.
Heart-wrenching to hear, but at least they still have plenty of Deaf people going there and it’s something I’d be grateful of because I don’t get to see this sight often in the States.
Overall, the place was awesome and you cannot miss this stop when you’re in Budapest, Hungary!