EUROPE/HUNGARY – Welcoming Ukrainian refugees is an integral part of the life of the Salesian community of Kazincbarcika


EUROPE/HUNGARY – Welcoming Ukrainian refugees is an integral part of the life of the Salesian community of Kazincbarcika


Kazincbarcika (Agenzia Fides) – Kazincbarcika is a town in northern Hungary, where the Salesians run a parish, a Salesian house, two schools, a dormitory and various other apostolic activities, with which they take care of the poorest young people, in particular minority. The vast Salesian house is located near the border with Ukraine, which is why refugees fleeing the war have been arriving there since the end of February. Today, the reception of refugees is an integral part of the daily life of the Salesian house of Kazincbarcika and the “Don Bosco” boarding school. When Ukrainian refugees began to arrive in Hungary in large numbers – reports the Salesian agency Ans – Fr. Béla Ábrahám, director of the house in Kazincbarcika, offered to register the Salesian house as a refuge and reception center officially recognized by the competent authorities. The Salesians then began to collect supplies and other materials, such as household appliances, to prepare housing for the refugees, who began to arrive in the first half of April. “From the beginning, the parish has been responsible for providing them with hot and nutritious meals every day”, explains Fr Geza Nadudvari, Secretary of the Salesian Province “Santo Stefano Re” of Hungary. Thus, five families – consisting of women and children – arrived in Hungary to join their husbands who had emigrated to the country about a year before the outbreak of war. The second wave of refugees arrived two weeks later: three Ukrainian mothers with two children each were able to find accommodation at the Don Bosco boarding school: currently the boarders have been moved to the first floor, while the second and upper floors have been reserved for refugees. Providentially, many people and organizations of goodwill have come together to help these refugees: some provide food, sweets, clothes or toys, others offer their time and expertise, helping in the process bureaucratic or providing medical or psychological assistance. Most of the refugees hosted by the Salesians hope to be able to return to Ukraine to resume their lives, but those who cannot return home – as there is almost nowhere to return – will have to start a new life in Hungary. “The Salesian Family in Hungary will continue to offer all possible support to help them integrate into our society and offer them a new and welcoming home,” Fr Nadudvari adds. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 06/01/2022)

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