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Shine light on a good cause

Světluška's name recognition goes long way toward raising funds

Posted: February 20, 2013

By Monika Ticháčková - Staff Writer | Comments (0) | Post comment

Shine light on a good cause

Courtesy Photo

Kavárna Potmě, which facilitates dinners in the pitch black with the aim of fundraising, is one of the initiatives of the nonprofit Světluška, which raises awareness of blindness with the public and is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

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Have you ever met someone on the street who bore bobbing antennae and offered you a keychain in exchange for a small charitable contribution, which he or she then placed into a paper lantern?

If so, you've helped out Světluška (Firefly), a project that serves visually impaired people.

According to a survey, more than 80 percent of Czechs know what Světluška is and whom it helps.

"Světluška celebrates its 10th birthday this year," reads a statement from Martina Kaderková, the director of the Czech Radio Foundation, which founded the nonprofit. "We are pleased that it became not only the symbol of help for people with serious vision disabilities in the Czech Republic during that time, but also the organization that actively connects the worlds of sighted and blind people. We are managing it thanks to projects inviting everyone into the world of darkness." Those include night runs, the popular Kavárna Potmě, where food and drinks are served in the pitch black by blind waitstaff, and benefit concerts.

Světluška (Firefly)
Vinohradská 12, Prague 2
Tel.: 221 551 217
Contributions: SMS the word "SVETLUSKA" to 87 777; cost 30 Kč
Bank account No.: 99999 99999/0100

Světluška estimates it has already put forth some 90 million Kč in direct help for the vision-impaired since 2003. In 2012 alone, contributions reached 5.7 million Kč.

A recent survey on public awareness of nonprofit organizations showed Světluška springs to mind more than any other when respondents are asked to name a charity (35 percent) and also the first recognized when various groups are listed (15 percent). The OMG Research Company and Data Collect s.r.o. conducted the survey of 507 adults in November.

One interesting factoid that the survey found is that publicity expenses for nonprofits do not necessarily correspond to their popularity or public support. For example, the Czech Radio Foundation invests one of the relatively smallest amounts in promoting Světluška.

Helpful then are the celebrities willing to put their faces forward in support of the nonprofit's work. The main face and patron of Světluška is the singer Aneta Langerová, who participates in some capacity in most of its activities such as the opening of the new branch of Kavárna Potmě, selling keychains on the street or performing at the benefit concerts.

The biggest annual event is the concert Světlo pro Světlušku. The last took place in November and featured, among many others, Václav Neckář, Tomáš Klus, Iva Janžurová, Daniela Kolářová, Buty, Bolek Polívka and Anna Polívková.

"I more than imagine that, even though I can see, I don't see a lot of things," said the actor Pavel Liška, who was emceeing the concert. "And I also suspect that if I hung around meaningful and good things more, I will see more, too. It means I actually hang around Světluška for selfish reasons."

Monika Ticháčková can be reached at

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