2024. June 16., Sunday

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You save lives

Migration Aid - Életeket mentünk

We are preparing for Christmas, the second holiday in Ukraine under the shadow of bombs since the beginning of the Russian invasion. News of the war and civilians fleeing  weapons has become commonplace in Hungary. Life goes on, it’s not so easy for us either, so dramatic images no longer hit the threshold of the imagination.

Aid is dwindling and the government is withdrawing resources from refugee care. Every day, more and more Ukrainian mothers are unable to make ends meet, with the result that more and more of them are forced to return to Ukraine with their children. Even to settlements near the front, because they simply cannot find any other way to keep a roof over their heads.

Alina is a young, single woman. She has spent months in MigAid’s Madridi Street Refugee Shelter, although she had not originally planned to do so. She wanted to travel on to Germany to visit friends, but she broke her leg and was forced to cut her trip short. As time went by and he tried to organise his future from the hostel, he realised that it wasn’t going the way he wanted. Alina was a resident of Kharkov, the second most populous city in Ukraine before the war broke out, with 1.5 million inhabitants.

When the Russian tanks were stationed in the suburbs of Kharkov, hundreds of thousands of Kharkov residents fled, and Alina came along, leaving her sick mother behind with a heavy heart. In the end, it was her mother and the lack of support she had hoped for that forced her to decide to go home to Ukraine, even if it meant risking her life while the war was still going on.

Alina told me that those who stayed in the city were trying to make the best of their lives. The children started the 2023 school year in the metro stations, where the city government has set up 60 classrooms for around 1,000 children to protect them from the air raids that hit the city.

Homes where life is in danger

MigAid is saving lives by helping Ukrainian refugees: if we don’t give them safe shelter until the end of the war, they will have to go back to their life-threatening homes. Currently, with only 6,000 forints per person per day, we can afford to provide safe shelter and three meals a day for those who come to us at our refugee shelter on Madrid Street.

With less than 3.000 HUF/child/day we run a child welfare facility (Learning Without Borders), which enables 60 Ukrainian children to learn and process their war traumas in a safe environment, in day care. Instead of spending their school days in a metro station. With these funds, MigAid’s projects are among the cheapest and most efficiently run institutions for Ukrainian refugees.

We do not have ambitious hopes and dreams. We know that the vast majority of Ukrainians in Hungary want to return home when the war is over. And until then, to survive somehow, to live a decent life. That is what we are trying to help them do. Thank you for saving lives with us.

Cover photo: A Ukrainian mother with her two children at the MigAid refugee shelter (Karancsi Rudolf / HVG)

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