Refugee children face new challenges as new school year starts

The start of the new school year was a hot topic amongst Ukrainian families staying in Hungary already during the summer months. For the kids, September means new friends, experiences, but also new challenges and most definitely, new concerns for parents. While in Ukraine the war still defines the way children may attend school, refugees in Hungary face other challenges.  Part of them continue their studies online, participating in the remote education provided by their Ukrainian schools, but many families have decided to switch to the Hungarian system. While remote education almost certainly means isolation and loneliness for the children, in Hungarian classrooms these children will also need to adapt to a completely different language environment.

Most of the Ukrainian children who have found shelter and enrolled in schools in Hungary will start in the first grade. Hungarian Interchurch Aid’s goal was to ensure that they don’t miss out on this formative experience: Parents received help in finding schools for their children and were assisted during the whole enrolment process by our colleagues at the Support Centre for Ukrainian Refugees in downtown Budapest. In addition to the administrative support, these families were also given school kits.

Thanks to the support of our private donors and corporate partners, we were able to help close to 500 Ukrainian refugee children in Hungary before the first day of school. An outstanding donation by Pepco allowed us to buy 300 brand new schoolbags, lunchboxes, canteens, and gym bags – which we then filled with pencils, pens and exercise books. The company also supports a summer camp for disadvantaged children as well as our educational programme in the town of Olaszliszka. For those who continue to take part in the Ukrainian remote education, we have procured laptops and tablets that they can use throughout the school year. With the help of our institutional network and domestic partner organisations our help reached refugee children in many parts of the country, including the cities of Miskolc, Sopron and Kaposvár.

We’d like to thank all of our volunteers, donors and partners for their involvement and support – this allows us to give the most vulnerable refugee children a chance to start school in dignified circumstances, and help them to quickly settle into their new environment.

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