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The Josef Chaloupka Foundation House

The poet Josef Chaloupka bequested the foundation building in Chaloupkova 7 to the blind in the thirties of the 20th century. He was not only a poet but he was dramatist and editor, as well. He was a very important person in the whole cultural sphere. Sofar, it is known that seven Czech componists descending mainly from Brno were inspired by Chaloupka's work and that they set some of his poetry to music. We can name Václav Kaprál who set to music one of Chaloupka's first poems in 1918. Chaloupka wrote this poem when he was twenty. Vilém Petrželka composed five songs based on Chaloupka's poems. Chaloupka's work is still present, not only in its literary form but also as lyrics of many songs performed among others by various male and female choirs such as of Jan kunc, Josef Kohout, Emil Hlobil, Jaroslav Kvapil or Karel Konvalinka.

He was a great and good-hearted person with a lot of empathy and sense of other's needs. Thanks to his bequest, blind citizens acquired a house in former Třebízského, now Chaloupkova Street where they could live and participate in the productive life of society through their own work. Chaloupka's mother lived in the house until her death.

The Supportive Independend Blind Association established a dormitory for blind workers without families in the house. Later a workshop was set up where the workers were employed. The association further enlarged the building by adding the court part.

In 1953, Drutěva, a manufacturing company employing handicapped people, took over the building. One year after the revolution, in 1990, Drutěva left the building and moved to Bohunicka Street and Czech Blind Union then acquired the house. Between the years 1990-1992 Czech Blind Union realized several adaptations of the building in order to be able to provide services to the blind in adequate conditions. The total costs of this construction work were 1 milion CZK. The Czech Blind Union branch site responsible for the district Brno rezided in the house. In 1992, an ambulatory district centre of the organization Tyfloservis was established here. Tyfloservis supports the clients by elementary social rehabilitation training and also by providing them with special aids for the blind facilitating their everyday life as well as with low vision optical aids. In 1994, a digitizing and training centre was founded here that provided the blind with services enabling them to work with computers and with various IT based aids.

Since 1990, two blind organizations were existing concurrently in the Czech Republic. It was the Czech Blind Union (founded on December 3, 1989) and the Czech Association of Blind and Visually Impaired (founded April 22, 1990). In 1996, the two organizations merged and on 16th Juni the Czech Blind United was founded. In the same year, Czech Blind United acquired the house. In 1997, the Centre of Integrating Activities began to provide its services for the blind and visually impaired here. These services are the reading and advisory services, the guide service and other social services.

From 1992 until 2000 the Blind Museum was settled in the back part of the building. Yet, since 2000, the Blind Museum has become a part of the Brno Technical Museum.

The social enterprise TyfloCentrum Brno, o.p.s. offering social services for the blind and visually impaired has rezided in the house since August 28, 2000. Tyflocentrum has taken over the activities from the Digitizing Centre and from the Centre of Integrating Activities. Since September 18 2000, a branch office of the social enterprise Tyfloservis O.P.S., has rezided here. Since 2003, also a blind sport guild Tandem Brno has had its domicile here.

The Czech Blind United still has its branch offices responsible for the district of Brno in the house. On 1st of May 2005 the building became property of the social enterprise Tyflocentrum Brno, O.P.S. which is preparing essential reconstruction of the building.

The will of the poet Josef Chaloupka is being fulfilled.

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