Building resilience of NGOs


27th of August - 4th of September 2023
Final Presentation: 3rd of September 2023
Where: Centrum Veronica Hostětín / Czech Rep.
Duration: 9 days
Participants: 21

RSVP for the Final Presentation in person
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? 

Holis School allows to 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.

Make a real difference this summer!

This year we focus on resilience

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.

Selected NGOs for this year's edition:

1. Cesta Mladých from Slovakia
2. Férová škola from Czech Republic
3. NoBadKid from Hungary

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.

Community & Participants

Problem-solvers who aren't satisfied with the status quo with strong interest in social design & innovation - meet Holis School participants!

Participants have already been selected for this year opportunity. We have carefully chosen individuals at various levels of experience who are enthusiastic about challenging themselves and making valuable contributions to interdisciplinary teams. Their skills, passion, and dedication to personal & professional growth truly stood out!

This intensive experience aims to empower participants with the know-how & network to cause real change.

This year, we are hosting participants with experience like:

UX/UI design, strategy, science, branding, industrial design, product & service design, visual communication, communication, research, facilitation, history, project management, NGOs management, volunteering, community organisation & development, web development, social service, activism, education, social innovation, storytelling & content creation.

Participants represent culture like:

Poland 🇵🇱, Spain 🇪🇸, Denmark 🇩🇰, Hungary 🇭🇺, USA 🇺🇸, Italy 🇮🇹, Mexico 🇲🇽, Costa Rica 🇨🇷, Germany 🇩🇪, and Portugal 🇵🇹.

Holis Facilitators & Experts


Avinash Pratap Singh

Program Lead & Social Innovator

Expert on sustainability, grassroots leadership, human-centred and social innovation. Avinash is an award-winning grassroots youth leader with a focus on environmental sustainability. Back in India, He worked with over 5000+ volunteers and 100+ full-time employees as the CEO of Waste Warriors Society - a grassroots nonprofit providing waste management solutions to communities living in eco-sensitive zones of the Himalayan region. Currently, Avinash is a master's student of Public Management at the University of Potsdam as a Helmut Schmidt Scholarship holder by DAAD. Further, he practices Design Thinking at Hasso Plattner Institute Germany. He can be found running, cycling, or climbing when not debating on environmental issues.


Dominika Targosz

Chef, plant-based cuisine enthusiast & promoter

Out of her passion for cooking, she abandoned her career in the film industry. She draws inspiration from her travels and sentiments to develop recipes full of distinct flavours. She can make anything into a sandwich and will convince the most prominent sceptics to eat tofu. Simple seasonal ingredients and cooking joy— the secret combination she applies to every meal. She runs workshops and authorises numerous articles and ebooks published with RoślinnieJemy. Daily, she shares her recipes on Instagram -> @domtargosz (we highly recommend checking this!).


Dr Bori Fehér

Social designer & Design strategist

Dr Bori Fehér is a social designer and design strategist focused on resilience and sustainability. Bori heads the Social Design Hub at MOME Innovation Center (MOME Interaction Design - Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest). She has facilitated students and researchers in social, eco and humanitarian design practice-based research projects for over a decade. Her research focuses on the climate crisis and its relations to social resilience, particularly on underprivileged communities and organisations on the rural periphery. She is the Co-Chair of the International Social Design Network she co-founded in 2020. Since 2014 Bori has been a Visiting Scholar at the Maryland Institute College of Art Center for Social Design in Baltimore, USA. She has a background in architecture and previously practised it in New York, USA.


Irena Stehlikova

Lector, designer & Expert

Lector of environmental education, designer, environmental projects co-creator, and sustainable development expert. She is associated with Veronica' Ecological Institute and Centre since 2021. Veronica is an NGO that protects nature, the environment and the climate and shows others how to do it. Veronica has been involved in this field for over 35 years through different projects and activities aiming for carbon neutrality and connecting with all relevant stakeholders locally, nationally and internationally. Her experience comes from inner sustainability, resilience, robust networking and linking local, national and international stakeholders. Irena used to work and lived in Scotland, in Edinburgh, for a decade, where she obtained a design degree. She profoundly appreciates art and crafts, linking environmental education with experiential and experimental learning and art education.


Justyna Turek

Sustainable Design Consultant & Facilitator

A dynamic and versatile professional, recognized for her expertise in sustainable design and innovation. As a design researcher, process facilitator, and ideas initiator, she specializes in creating immersive experiences, systems, and workshops that enable companies, brands, organizations, and events to effectively communicate their sustainable value to users. Her extensive experience spans a wide range of industries, including product, service, and manufacturing companies, as well as collaborations with design and culture studios in Paris, Helsinki, New York, Stockholm and across Poland. Co-founder of Change Pilots and Next Agents.


Oleg Koefoed

Action philosopher, academician & consultant

Action philosopher, academician, consultant and expert. Oleg regularly serves as a guide, lecturer, facilitator, and action researcher for EU institutions, Baltic Sea regional partners, cultural institutions, universities, food start-ups, municipalities, and governments. Expert in existainability, regenerative paradigm, pollination, organisation culture and immersed culture. In the past 20 years, Oleg has been developing methods combining social science tools, aesthetic research and creative interventions, focusing on biological and physical systems and their affordances and demands. Co-founder of Growing Pathways, Leader of the Centre for Regenerative Transformation at Promentum, Postdoctoral Researcher at Københavns Universitet - University of Copenhagen, Teacher at Copenhagen Business School and Roskilde University and many more.


Paul Lequay

Design Lead & Service Designer

A cross-disciplinary designer, Paul designs experiences which embrace the societal issues emerging at the friction between new technologies, social demands and sustainable challenges. His approach combines design research, systemic thinking, co-design and prototyping to deliver detailed design grounded in industrial and societal reality. With a love of crafting meaningful and people-centred experiences, he often works at the intersection of the physical and digital landscape. He has worked to improve tech consumer-goods products and services, enables social innovation and disrupt the healthcare industry. He is skilled in industrial & development design, user experience, organizational change, circular thinking & sustainability. He works at Scania Group and is a co-organizer of Speculative Futures Stockholm.


Radoslav Pittner

Senior Change Manager at Ashoka

Experienced moderator, impact facilitator and coach. Senior Change Manager at Ashoka, where he focuses on accompanying Ashoka Fellows and other social innovators and socially beneficial initiatives on the way to collective impact and systemic changes. Studied law and international relations at Masaryk University in Brno, where he was also a launch Manager at Career. He used to work for the global organization Greenpeace as Fundraising Manager. Co-founded the startup Smitio, a platform enabling direct connections between employees and employers.


Roland Harwood

Compulsive Connector

Roland Harwood is a compulsive connector of people and ideas. As a successful serial entrepreneur, he is currently Founder and Director of Liminal, a new venture currently in development. Prior to that he was Co-Founder and Managing Director at 100%Open, the multi award-winning open innovation agency that works with the likes of LEGO, Ford, UBS, Oxfam and in 25+ countries around the world to co-innovate with their partners.


Stanislav Daniel


Stano Daniel is an expert on social inclusion with primary focus on inclusive education and support in early childhood. As a programme manager at Porticus Vienna he focuses on education in Central and Eastern Europe. His preceding international experience includes networking of civil society organisations working with disadvantaged children at European level, research of human rights in education, migration, health, housing. Along with his job he also is a member of the board of directors of Trnava University and the Roma Education Fund.


Archie MS

User experience researcher, design strategist & speaker

User experience researcher, design strategist, speaker, podcaster, coach, facilitator, and community wrangler. You name it they have done it. And that too all over the world. Their journey into user experience (UX) began in architecture and industrial design at Pratt Institute and Savannah College of Art and Design respectively. Further gaining expertise in #usercentereddesign, #fintech, and #strategic + #futuresthinking through their role as User Researcher at GE Transportation, a Wabtec company in Atlanta and their current role leading the UX team at Capgemini in London. Outside work, they enjoy building diverse and inclusive communities and organizing design events/conferences for The Design Futures Initiative. They help these enterprises and communities to shape their future using strategic visioning tools.


Diego Alatorre

Professor & Researcher

Designer, professor & researcher, he explores the relationship between design and education through play. His most relevant publications include one book, ‘Innovación social y diseño’, articles in different specialized magazines, and one game: the FUTURŒSCOPIO, a multimedia didactic experience to facilitate prospective thinking. He is currently studying a doctoral programme in Contemporary Studies at Coimbra University, in Portugal.


Henryk Stawicki

Circular design strategist & sustainability advocate

A circular design consultant, strategist, leader and facilitator. His expertise comes from human-centred design, circular design, design process & management. He helps companies create product and service strategies based on innovation, sustainability and circular economy. Teacher at various universities around Europe. A co-founder of two design consultancies, Change Pilots in Poland and Next Agents in Sweden. He always brings a multicultural perspective thanks to years of practice abroad, including New York and London and such organisations as Parsons School of Design - The New School and IDEO. In the past 20 years, He worked as a strategist, manager, team leader, and sustainability advocate.


Justyna Turek

Sustainable Design Consultant & Facilitator

A dynamic and versatile professional, recognized for her expertise in sustainable design and innovation. As a design researcher, process facilitator, and ideas initiator, she specializes in creating immersive experiences, systems, and workshops that enable companies, brands, organizations, and events to effectively communicate their sustainable value to users. Her extensive experience spans a wide range of industries, including product, service, and manufacturing companies, as well as collaborations with design and culture studios in Paris, Helsinki, New York, Stockholm and across Poland. Co-founder of Change Pilots and Next Agents.


Yang Li

Innovator, researcher, business & service designer

An innovator and mindfulness practitioner, Yang designs services and experiences informed by rigorous research, inspired through iterative prototypes and integrated via a collaborative approach. With unlimited curiosity about the complex humanity and imagination of the world from different perspectives, he has worked in industries from healthcare and logistics to agriculture. He is skilled in research, facilitation and rapid prototyping. Besides working as a design researcher, he also starts his company Studio Nwak designing for consciousness, intelligence, and being. He worked at H&M Group and did his internship at IDEO!

Junior Facilitator

Alvaro Valls Boix

Consultant, project manager

Alvaro is mathematician and project manager with experience in small and large companies. His problem-solving oriented mind makes him always look for continuous improvement. He is passionate about service design, and thinks it is the key to make the world a better place to live.

Junior Facilitator

Dominika Majewska

Industrial Design/ Speculative Design

Dominika is a designer, researcher and social innovator based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She works at the intersection of social design and environmental transitions, focusing on creating balanced connections between human-made and natural systems. User experience researcher passionate about psychology. Explorer, looking for connections between the urban and rural tomorrows.

Junior Facilitator

Lilla Török

Social Designer & Researcher

Multidisciplinary designer working in the intersection of design, art and technology, focusing on social innovation. She became fluent in design thinking, inclusive design, facilitation, co-creation, speculative design, and six languages by exploring different fields in four other countries, from hardware-software startups through social and cultural associations to businesses. She co-founded Open the Kimono, a grassroots association to invite creatives and laypeople to co-create art based on essential topics for humanity's future. Another project of hers, Sinematic Xperience, allows people to be in a safe space to discuss sensitive and taboo subjects. Her main strengths lie in research and concept development. She finds an infinite source of inspiration in life, light, nature, people, social interactions and science for her ideas.

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 our Program Lead - Paul Lequay.

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.

Learning Objectives

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.

Participants 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, participants will learn skills that will help them navigate the complex and ever-changing world of today and tomorrow:

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


The Holis School program is a non-profit endeavor, made possible by volunteer work and support from sponsors and grants. The contribution is essential to making it happen. We ask participants 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

Every year we offer our scholarships (50% discount), and this time we are supporting 5 participants. 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.

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.


Besides the obvious part of learning
the previously mentioned skills, participants 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 them 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, participants will be able to work on projects that might be executed in real life (especially relevant for junior designers willing to upgrade their portfolios).

Participants 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 participants do it and scale their professional design carrier at the end of Holis School, they will receive a certificate/diploma signed by all facilitators & partners.

3 core principles of Holis School

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.

Holis School is a unique & impactful experience that will challenge and help grow both personally & professionally.

At Holis School, participants will have the opportunity to immerse themselves 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. Participants will 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 (closed for 2023)

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.

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. Holis is one-of-a-kind program that focuses on your holistic development.

Veronica' Ecological Institute and Centre

This time, we will be hosted by a special place called Veronica' Ecological Institute and Centre at the very foot of the White Carpathians / Czech Republic. Veronica is an NGO that protects nature, the environment and the climate and shows others how to do it. Veronica has been involved in this field for over 35 years through different projects and activities aiming for carbon neutrality and connecting with all relevant stakeholders on a local, national and international level. They are experts in the implementation of resilience in real life!

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

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.

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).

How to get there? 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.

Any questions?

  • Drop an email with the questions to our CEO Justyna Turek at
  • Contact one of our Holis Ambassadors from Spain, Finland, Egypt, Denmark, Poland, Ecuador, Hungary, Slovakia, Mexico and Germany. Check the People Page to know more.

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 and Nadace OSF; PL - FRSI and KobieTy; HU - Carpathian Foundation

This year we have an Educational Partnerships with Laurea University of Applied Sciences from Finland.

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