Since the beginning of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine Hungary has been actively providing support to children from the near-front towns, wounded soldiers and internally displaced persons through an array of social initiatives.
Kyiv, August 9, 2016. Over the past two years around 1,000 children from across Ukraine have attended a week-long program in the summer camp in Hungary “European values for the children of Ukraine”. The project has been co-organized by the foundation Vidrodzhennya Prykarpattya Foundation (reviving Prykarpattya – eng.) in cooperation with the Embassy of Hungary in Ukraine, Ukrainian self-governance in Hungary and Hungarian Ministry for Human Resources.
In 2015, 680 children visited summer camps in Hungary. This year week-long stays for 10 groups have already taken place with two more group visits for 117 children to come.
“These are first of all the children of ATO servicemen who were killed in the east as well as talented children from the near-front zone,” said Iryna Rabarska, director of Vidrodzhennya Prykarpattya Foundation at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center in the framework of UCMC project “Spokesperson of peaceful life” implemented with support of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Main locations of the camps are the city of Gárdony as well as the lakes Velence and Balaton. The goal of the camp program is not only recreational but also cultural and educational, emphasized Iryna Rabarska. “Children had an opportunity to visit a new place, to experience living in an EU member state and realize what the European values are and why Ukraine is moving towards them. It is crucial to let provide them with experience like this, as this kids are the ones to create our future,” she explains.
After the stay in the camp ends those who live in Ivano-Frankivsk are able to join other activities offered by the foundation: doing arts and crafts, journalism or foreign language classes. Trips to industrial enterprises and professional colleges in Ivano-Frankivsk are also being offered as ways of professional training.
“Children stand for peace globally”
Apart from the “European values” project, in December 2015 – June 2016 volunteers organized a cultural diplomacy project “Children stand for peace globally”. Around 570 young Ukrainians headed to the tour across 35 European countries including Hungary, with aiming to meet various stakeholders and visits to the national parliaments. On May 18 they attended a Papal general audience.
“It is important to know that we and Ukraine are not alone in fighting the aggression. This support is manifested not only through sanctions or diplomatic pressure but also through such practical actions,” noted Liubov Nepop, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to Hungary. “The interest to Ukraine is very big, these relations have considerable potential. We can work to achieve concrete results.”
How Hungary is helping Ukraine
In 2015 Hungary hosted and covered treatment and rehabilitation expenses for 21 wounded soldiers. This year four servicemen have already received treatment. Hungary is ready to host 16 more. Limb treatment, prosthetics and rehabilitation on thermal waters are most common types of medical assistance. “Treatment is provided in the medical center of the Armed Forces of Hungary in Budapest, rehabilitation in a recreational center in a resort town. Treatment course lasts one and a half – two months,” said Madam Ambassador.
The future plans include cooperation with the project “Warm up soldier’s soul” that will offer rehabilitation and painting master classes to soldiers. Artistic pieces produced by them will be displayed in a public exhibition in Hungary.
Another joint program aims at supporting internally displaced persons. “Hungary offers them a chance to work, get vocational training and return to Ukraine with a new level of professional skills. It also helps to see the life of our neighbors in their own eyes and understand better what we imply when we speak about eurointegration,” noted Ambassador Nepop.
The Ambassador reiterated that last year Hungary sent eight trucks with humanitarian assistance to Ukraine including medicine and food. Four more ones are due to be sent. Humanitarian assistance is also being provided by the Maltese assistance service: thanks to it Mukacheve city hospital received 20 functional beds.