I’ve spent a little more than the last month in Budapest. Over the last several days, the city has been getting more and more refugees who are trying to get to Germany, Austria and other places in Western Europe by the thousands. I’ve seen the faces of kids who have clearly seen too much terror and death when we visited a refugee transit camp outside of Budapest’s central station yesterday. What we saw moved us enough to head over to the nearest Lidl to buy food and supplies for them. When I asked one of the exasperated migrant aid workers what they needed the most of, he said without hesitation, “Baby stuff, diapers, baby wipes and soap. Oh and toys/coloring books for the kids”. It was mind-boggling to me how many kids were at this particular camp. Turns out there were even more families who were stuck outside of Budapest’s Eastern station.
I was particularly encouraged by the fact that Hungarians came out in droves in support of the refugees. Despite the government’s rather cold treatment of the refugees thus far, a good chunk of the citizens are not tolerating it. They demonstrated in a march which started at Budapest’s central station and ended at the Hungarian Parliament. According to news reports, there were well over 10,000 people joining in the protest to help these people. And trust me, that was a lowball estimate. People of all ages were pledging their support for these desperate, terrified people who have already survived incredible trials just to get that far. There were even people signing up to offer rooms in their homes to the refugees. So they don’t have to sleep in dingy camps with little or no services.
While the EU has a long way to go to rectify their initially disastrous response to this crisis thus far, what I’m seeing is encouraging me to believe that things are going in the right direction.
Let’s hope so. These people deserve a chance.
Here’s how you can help…
● Save the Children: distributing essential items such as nappies, hygiene kits and food
● Red Cross Europe: providing emergency health services at central train stations
● Migrant Offshore Aid Station: dedicated to preventing migrant deaths at sea
● International Rescue Committee: improving living conditions by setting up camps
● The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): providing water, mosquito nets, tents, healthcare
● Refugee Action: advice about claiming asylum, the asylum process, asylum support
● World Vision: providing food, water, shelter, education and psychosocial care