HIA summer camp for Ukrainian children provides respite from war trauma

In Hungary’s capital city Budapest and the idyllic village of Kastélyosdombó located in the south of the country, Hungarian Interchurch Aid is organising summer camps for around 200 children coming from all over Ukraine. In addition to providing a great variety of exciting recreational programmes, these camps also put great emphasis on processing the traumas of the children who had to live through so much. Originally from Bucha, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Donetsk and Kherson and their surroundings, they now have the chance to participate in games and group activities providing respite from the horrors of war, even if only for a short time. As well as giving children the opportunity to have fun with their peers, it also relieves parents – for some of them, for the first time since the start of the war. Activities include not only different crafts and sports activities like football, darts, cycling, “live foosball” but also many outdoor adventures, hiking trips, a boat excursion on the biggest lake in Central Europe, the Balaton, as well as a falconry show, VR-games and even some games with the aim of learning a bit of Hungarian. All of this is made possible thanks to a broad coalition of actors: businesses, churches and humanitarians. E.ON Hungária Group is the main sponsor of both locations, with very significant contributions from Christian Aid, HIA’s british partner in ACT Alliance and the fundraiser “Híd Kárpátaljáért”.  Furthermore, HIA is cooperating with the Lutheran Diaconia of Hungary and the Piarist Highschool of Budapest in the organisation of the summer camps in Budapest.

Taking on a leading role in ACT Alliance’s response in the war-torn country, Hungarian Interchurch Aid is at the same time also implementing Hungary’s largest humanitarian aid programme. It supports 250 community shelters in the Zakarpattia region through its office in Berehove, and operates country-wide through its humanitarian centre in Kyiv and regional office in Lviv. The organisation has so far helped more than 110,000 people with food, hygiene items, medicine, psychosocial support and temporary accommodation in Ukraine and Hungary as well, where it has been involved in the care of refugees since the first day of the war. Besides alleviating basic humanitarian needs in Ukraine, HIA is now also focusing on longer-term projects with the aim of reconstruction and resettlement of territories devastated by the war.

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