Volunteer work among refugees Budapest, Hungary

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We worked together with the Lutheran Diacony in Budapest. There is a home for children outside Budapest who arrived in Hungary as refugees without their parents. The Diacony organizes some programmes for these children in Budapest once a month to help them get acquainted with the Hungarian culture, way of life. We have taken part at these programmes several times. What was interesting for us is that most of them were boys, there was only one or two girls among them, and the next time we met them there were only one or two of the children who were the same as at the first time. The reason for this was that most of them aimed to go further on to Western Europe in hope of better circumstances, but a few of them also were planning on staying in Hungary for a while.

One of the main difficulties of our meetings were our language barriers. The refugees hardly spoke English, or any other language apart from their own, so it was difficult to have conversations with them. They were very timid at first, just like us, but when we started playing some sport games together, or we shared something about our culture by showing our national dances both them and us opened up and the atmopshere becamse cosier.

As there was a lady from Iran who has been living in Budapest for many years and speaks Hungarian perfectly, we could learn about the experiences of the refugees through her translation of the stories. Listening to these stories was heartrendering, and helped us put ourselves into those children’s situations and try to understand their difficulties. Even if they already spoke perfect Hungarian, as there were two boys we met who have been living in Hungary for a long time with their father, they encountered many difficulties and bullying at their school because of their origins.

We were very thankful for these experiences. The drawings illustrate our meetings, when sometimes we sat in a circle, and played games with each other, while the other one tries to give back the experiences a boy went through while fleeing from his country e.g. sitting in their car, trying to get away from their home and seeing tanks around them.