Building resilience of NGOs

When: 27th of August - 4th of September 2023
Where: Centrum Veronica Hostětín / Czech Rep.
Duration: 9 days
Participants: 20-25
€400–800 (see details below)
Early Birds discount 15%: 14th of February

Application Deadline:  31st of March, 2023

Apply Now - Early Birds!
Photos by Johann Walter Bantz and Krstan Petrucz.

Your favourite format is back!

Tired of the same old summer plans? 
Want to make a meaningful impact & learn about using resilience in design-oriented work? 

Join Holis School and take control of your summer.
Our nine-day intensive program teaches the essential soft skill of interdisciplinary collaboration while working on real-world resilient solutions for NGOs and organisations in the Visegrad Region. Plus, you'll meet like-minded, creative individuals.

Sign up now & make a real difference this summer!

What will you work on & why

In 2023, Holis School is tackling the most relevant topic for design - resilience.
With our eight years of experience in collaborative and interdisciplinary work and a team of expert professionals from various fields, we are working to find resilience solutions for NGOs and non-profit organisations... and we need YOU to be a part of it!

Resilience, what is it?
Simply, it is the capacity to withstand
or recover quickly from difficulties, deal with adversity, withstand shocks, and continuously adapt and accelerate as disruptions and crises arise. 

Holis School participants have been making real-world changes for years by working on social and environmental issues and collaborating closely with NGOs and non-profit organisations to address their challenges and needs.
Now, more than ever, organisations need to build resilience from within to survive and thrive in today's "permanent crisis" (according to Accenture).

As a designer, you understand the importance of paying attention to potential factors that may affect your project, research, service, or organisation. Resilience is about the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficulties, adapt and evolve in the face of change, and thrive in adversity.

At Holis School, we'll give you the tools, methods, and team you need to design for resilience. Join us and increase your ability to predict, prepare for, respond to, and adapt to change and crises.

Check out our past experiences with resilience in our last edition of Holis School (focused on Early Childhood Development organisations) and our case study on resilience for the Places to Grow project.

Who are we looking for

Are you a problem-solver who isn't satisfied with the status quo?
Do you have an interest in social design
& innovation?

If so, Holis School is the perfect fit for you. We're looking for participants at any level of experience who are eager to challenge themselves and contribute to interdisciplinary teams.

Join us & be part of an intensive experience that will empower you with the know-how and network to cause real change.

Not sure if you're eligible to apply? Contact our CEO Justyna for more information.

We welcome applicants from a wide range of fields, including but not limited to:

  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Behavioural change
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience
  • Change management
  • Strategy design
  • Circular design
  • Early childhood development
  • Business management
  • Systems thinking
  • Learning design
  • Local and regional governance
  • Social services
  • System change
  • Visual communication
  • Community development
  • Design management
  • Communication
  • Service design
  • Web development

Holis Facilitators & Experts

At Holis School, we believe in the power of diversity
& interdisciplinary collaboration. Our facilitators bring a unique perspective and approach to the program, while adhering to the core curriculum set by the Program Lead.

This allows for a constant exchange of knowledge and ideas among our teaching staff. With eight years of experience, we have assembled a team of exceptional facilitators, experts, and supporters. Check out our People subpage to learn more. Join us and benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our facilitators and experts.

Information on experts & facilitators will soon be revealed.
Stay tuned!

What you will learn

At Holis School, we believe that real value comes from collaboration and a collective mindset. That's why we work in international and interdisciplinary teams, with support from experts, facilitators, team leaders, and organizations in V4 countries.

You can expect a balance of work and fun, with 70% collaboration and 30% leisure activities. Our summer school programs focus on developing skills that will help you solve complex problems, regardless of your field. While hard skills are important, they can quickly become obsolete with the rapid pace of technological change. Instead, we focus on developing soft skills that will enable you to adapt and evolve more quickly.

During the program, you will learn:

communication, storytelling, community building, complex problem-solving, critical thinking, cross-cultural teamwork, learning strategies, interdisciplinary collaboration, long-term thinking and resilience.

Join us & learn skills that will help you navigate the complex and ever-changing world of today and tomorrow.

How much does it cost?

The Holis School program is a non-profit endeavor, made possible by volunteer work and support from sponsors and grants. Your contribution is essential to making it happen. We ask that you pay as much as possible within the following ranges.

and/or professional: €700-800
Student / Unemployed
and/or nonprofessional €400-500
(Self)Employed / Freelancer €600-650

We also have limited opportunities for scholarships (50% discount) and one free participant. Check the FAQ for more information.

The price includes access to experts, materials, approach, teamwork, delicious food, accommodation, and the venue. It does not include travel costs or insurance. To minimize our environmental impact, we encourage participants to travel by bus or train.

If you need to cancel your participation, here is our cancellation policy:

If you cancel up to 2 weeks before the start of the event, we will refund 70% of the participation fee. If you cancel two weeks or less before the start of the event, there will be no refund. In exceptional situations, we will allow for a replacement. We do everything possible to not cancel any of our events, however, in the event that we have to cancel due to insufficient participants or funding, you will be refunded in full.

What you will gain

Besides the obvious part of learning
the previously mentioned skills, you will become a part of an ever-growing Holis School alumni community worldwide.

Over 100+ participants participated in Holis School for over eight years, allowing you to enter a new network. 

The Holis Alumni consist of team facilitators and participants spread across the world. It’s a network of like-minded people who are helpful and occasionally even collaborate on projects. Additionally, you will be working on projects that might be executed in real life (especially relevant for junior designers willing to upgrade their portfolios).

You will join our brand new Discord community while attending the preparation before the Holis School
& after - to stay in touch with your colleagues and others in the network. 

We know how important it is to pass to the next game level. To help you do it and scale your professional design carrier at the end of Holis School, you will receive a certificate/diploma signed by all facilitators & partners.

What you’ll be doing

We are committed to three core principles that guide our program:

Openness to, awareness of, and effectiveness in giving and receiving feedback is essential to the learning process.

Team development: Understanding the various tools and research on team development and group dynamics, and increasing confidence in utilising team-building tools.

Social impact: Understanding how the project can positively affect the community and the well-being of individuals and families.

Join us for a unique & impactful experience that will challenge you & help you grow both personally & professionally.

At Holis School, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Visegrad rural region while deepening your design practice alongside fellow designers
& working on issues that truly matter.

Our goal is to find easy-to-implement, resilient solutions for Early Childhood Development organizations in the Visegrad region. You'll work on a real-world project in an interdisciplinary team, learning soft skills through hands-on experience.

The program is a 9-day, 8-night on-site workshop that includes preparatory work and post-workshop assignments.
The ultimate goal is to produce project deliverables that can be used for further development and implementation, resulting in real-world impact.

A typical day at Holis School includes movement (such as yoga and running), meditation classes, family-style meals made with regional and seasonal ingredients, social activities (dancing, sauna, movie nights, walks, sightseeing, etc.), and plenty of time for reflection and relaxation. There will also be small excursions, study visits, and meetings.

Application process

The application process for Holis School includes several steps, and we evaluate applications 7 days after they're submitted. If you're selected, you'll need to pay 50% of the fee within 5 days to secure your spot, with the remaining 50% due 30 days before the program begins.

Early Bird applicants are required to pay the full amount upfront.

Note that if we don't receive enough applicants, the program may not run.

Step 1: Registration - Express your interest in participating and provide basic personal information.

Step 2: Motivation letter & Project Portfolio - In 500 words, explain why you want to attend Holis School, what you hope to gain from the experience, your relevant experiences, what interests you about the topic of this year's summer school, and how you can contribute to the program and your team. In your project portfolio, present relevant projects you've been a part of. The project portfolio should be a one-page document.

Step 3: Video Chat
- Shortlisted applicants will have a 30-minute interview with us to get to know each other better and answer any questions.

Join us and take the first step towards
a challenging & impactful experience by applying today!

The Venue, food & extra activities

Why choose Holis School? Our approach sets us apart from traditional courses. We prioritise your well-being and learning by providing a natural setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, delicious meals prepared, opportunities for sports & leisure activities, and typical summer experiences.

Food Experience

We are famous for a breathtaking meal made with homemade ingredients and organic food. This time, we will get our ingredients directly "from the source", including the famous Hostětín juice and fair trade coffee. Our chef Dominka Targosz, is a plant-based rising star of Poland and ambassador of RoslinnieJemy. She nailed down the art of making breakfasts. Your morning porridge won't be the same after this experience.

These elements are intentionally designed to create a unique & unforgettable educational experience. Join us for a one-of-a-kind program that focuses on your holistic development.

Centrum Veronica Hostětín

This time, we will be hosted by a special place called Veronica Centrum at the very foot of the White Carpathians. Veronica Centrum is an ecologists association famous for being a living lab for sustainable development attitudes, measurements and buildings! They are experts in the implementation of resilience in real life! We will serve you a typical summer school vibe, meaning we have a room-sharing policy. For more about the rooms type > click here or here.

"Our mission is to support environment-friendly attitudes towards nature, landscape and their natural & cultural values"

Hostětín & Surroundings

Every year we choose a remote village for our school on purpose. We want to support them, bringing new creative activities to their lives. Known for its famous apple festival, the region of Hostětín offers a range of activities like nature trails, sculptures in the landscape, castle ruins, wooden houses, a spa and some stories about magical healers and herbalists (village Žítková).

Any questions?

  • If interested, join our Q&A session on the 8th of February at 19:30 (CET time) to get to know our plans, topic and venue for the Holis School in 2023! Sign up for the meeting.
  • Drop an email to our CEO Justyna at or directly contact one of our Holis Ambassadors.
  • Transportation - we assist our participants in arriving at the venue as soon as possible. As sustainability is a big part of our event, we suggest taking the train. If this won't be possible, the closest airports are in Ostrava and Brno / Czech Republic, in Bratislava / Slovakia and in Vienna / Austria. Then, you will need to take a train or bus to Hostětín (including 2-3 transfers). The closest big city is Zlín / Czech.

Holis School is an element of a Places to Grow project supporting 11 organizations that work with the topic of Early Childhood Development daily in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

This year we have the pleasure of cooperating with well-known partners from V4 counties like SK - Socia, Flowers of Slovakia and Nase Skolstvo; CZ - Court of Moravia; PL - FRSI and KobieTy; HU - Carpathian Foundation

The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.


Why do I need to apply?

Holis School has a limited number of places every year. This is the main reason why you have to apply to be part of Holis. We also think that a limited size group (maximum of 30 people) helps establish meaningful and long lasting connections. And finally we are certain that the right mix of people will bring a better learning experience. Our main role during the selection process is to select the best candidates who will make a great team.

Can we apply as a team?

Yes, you can! If you are a team of at least 5 people and maximum of 7 and have a diverse set of skills and knowledge you can apply as a team. You will need still have individual applications where you can let us know about the name of your team so we understand who is part of the team.
If you are applying as a team you will get 25% discount from your personal participation fee.

What’s the cancellation policy?

We might cancel the event if there is no sufficient participants or no sufficient funding. We do everything possible to not to cancel any of our events.

If you have to cancel your participation, here is the deal. If you cancel up to 2 weeks prior to the beginning of the event we will refund 70% of the participation fee. If you cancel 2 weeks or less before the beginning of the event, there will be no refund. This is due to the short notice to reassign your place.

I'm not a designer. Is Holis for me?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is that we would love to have you. Holis is about interdisciplinarity and as you might guessed it doesn't work only with designers. Based on the feedback of our non-designer participants it's quite challenging to keep the tempo. We will do everything possible to prepare you for this experience. You will have an extra design methodology online session.

How and when to pay?

You will receive the information regarding how to make the payment once your application has been selected.

Do you have scholarship?

We offer a limited number of scholarship places for those who can't afford the full fee. With a scholarship you will receive a 50% discount on your fee (based on your needs and our resources). If you are planning to apply for the scholarship please let us know at the end of the application form. Scholarships are awarded based on financial needs and the quality of your application.
We expect a participants with a scholarship to become a Holis Ambassador and help us in our mission to raise the awareness around soft skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, peer learning and social innovation.

What’s the student/employed ratio?

We allocate 30% of the places for students/unemployed.

What’s included in the price?

  • Preperatory online session
  • Accommodation (9 nights)
  • Daily 3 meals (9 days)
  • A carefully selected international interdisciplinary team
  • An outstanding team facilitator
  • A real problem/task to work on and make an impact
  • High quality photos and videos that you can use
  • Certificate at the end of the programme
  • Follow-up online session
Please note that you will be responsible for your travel to and from the venue!

Life can only be understood backwards