Responding to migrants and refugees – the work of Hungarian Baptist Aid
In this series of articles EU-CORD members share some of the work they have been doing in responding to the large numbers of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe. Here Dávid Gál, Director of International Programmes at Hungarian Baptist Aid, writes on the ways in which Hungarian Baptist Aid have responded in Hungary and beyond.
During the summer and autumn months of 2015 Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid) has been heavily involved in the migrant crisis of Eastern Europe. Through the summer months, the humanitarian organisation HBAid was present with its own employees and volunteers at the capital’s Western Railway station. This railway station in Budapest saw thousands of desperate migrants pass through in hopes of being able to live a better life in Western Europe. HBAid offered medical attention, children’s programs, and a mobile baby-bathing unit, along with meeting the basic needs of individuals through providing food packages. During the following months, as the Hungarian government restricted the entry process for migrants aiming to prevent illegal transfer, the crisis shifted more towards Serbia and Croatia, and the HBAid had new opportunities to help in these countries as well.
In Serbia Hungarian Baptist Aid continually focuses on helping refugee children, women, and injured people working with volunteers to ease the heavy and often hopeless situations of migrants. The volunteers of HBAid, along with their Serbian partner organisation, have been working in multiple locations, including Röszke, Szabadka, Zombor, and Pélmonostor. They have distributed fruit and food packages to many thousand refugees and hygiene packages for families with children. The primary focus groups are women, children, and injured people.
In Croatia HBAid has been present at the 6000 person capacity registration camp in Opatovac, working alongside our partner organisation, the Croatian Baptist Aid. In this camp, the HBAid took volunteers to work in 8-16 hour shifts aiding the migrants arriving on buses. The volunteers helped with food and blanket distribution, helped out mothers traveling with young children, and assisted with those seeking medical attention. The volunteers and aid workers have also been present in the newly opened Slavonski Brod camp in Croatia. Here, migrants are arriving by train and humanitarian workers and volunteers are assisting in many different areas of the camp. Alongside this work, HBAid has prepared thousands of food packages that the migrants receive as they are arriving at and leaving the camp, they have also given clothing donations, hundreds of sleeping bags, and child-specific hygiene packages.
For this work, HBAID has received material and financial assistance from EU-CORD member partners Tearfund UK and Erikshjälpen from Sweden. Hungarian Baptist Aid are currently monitoring the opportunities of carrying out humanitarian assistance and revealing the possibility of cooperation with NGOs in Macedonia and Greece with the aim of transporting relief supplies.
Read more about the way EU-CORD members have responded by reading the article on Red een Kind here and on Dorcas here.
All photo credits: Hungarian Baptist Aid