A short guide on how to help refugees in Hungary

Please note that the situation is very volatile and changes minute by minute. The information below reflects the situation as of 20/09/15, 10:38 am. This document will be continuously updated.

As of 15th September, new immigration legislation has entered into force in Hungary. It strictly criminalizes those forms of immigration it regards illegal. This has led to the use of (and sometimes less safe) passages towards the EU. Some refugees are still stranded in Serbia at the Serbian-Croatian borders, thousands of them are waiting in different Croatian towns to be transported to Hungary, a couple of thousand of them has been taken to camps in Slovenia, and  thousands and tens of thousand are again escorted through Hungary towards the Austrian border. For more geographical info, see this map created by volunteers.

The volunteer organisations on the ground are very effective at finding out where the need is the biggest and organising relief aid to those places. They are in close collaboration with Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian and Austrian volunteers. Please, help their valuable work by looking through this document and choosing the way that best suits you to support their efforts. Thank you!

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An overview of and shortcuts the different sections of this document

1 How to help from abroad

1.1 Donate money

1.1.1 Contribute to buying blankets and other necessary supplies through the Budapest-Bamako group

1.1.2 Contribute to buying food and other necessary supplies through Caledonia Expats Pub in cooperation with the Robert Burns International Foundation

1.1.3 Contribute to buying food and other necessary supplies through Oltalom Charity Society

1.1.4 Contribute to disinfecting and redistributing used and left-behind blankets

1.1.5 Donation for medical purposes

1.1.6 Donation for refugee children and their families

1.1.7 BudAid campaign - donation for NGOs helping refugees

1.2 Donate groceries

1.2.1 What type of food to donate

1.2.2 Where to send grocery donations

1.2.3 Where to order food from

1.3 Be politically active

1.4 Spread the word about the grassroot movements and their tremendous efforts to ease the situation of refugees

2 How to help if you are in Hungary

2.1 Prepare and distribute food

3 Volunteer groups, people you can get into touch with


1 How to help from abroad

1.1 Donate money

1.1.1 Contribute to buying blankets and other necessary supplies through the Budapest-Bamako group

Help a Hungarian volunteer group who are experienced in buying, transporting and distributing blankets to continue their work. Learn more and donate here.

1.1.2 Contribute to buying food and other necessary supplies through Caledonia Expats Pub in cooperation with the Robert Burns International Foundation

Caledonia Expats Pub has been among the first to help prepare meals and collect donations for refugees. Already in the early summer they opened up their basement for donations which was an invaluable help in the first phase and getting the logistics in place. Now they raise fund again so that they can continue to support the good cause. Read more and donate here.

1.1.3 Contribute to buying food and other necessary supplies through Oltalom Charity Society

Oltalom has managed to get through the Hungarian-Serbian border a van of donation yesterday despite of strict custom regulations and animosity between Hungary and Serbia. Please, help the to continue their excellent work by sending donations to the bank account below.

Organization: Oltalom Charity Society

IBAN (Account#): HU26 10400140-00026699-00000006 (Marked "Refugees")

SWIFT Code: OKHBHUHB

Organization: Oltalom Karitatív Egyesület

Address: 1086 Budapest Dankó u. 9. Hungary

Bank's name: K&H Bank Zrt

Bank's address: 1095 Budapest, Lechner Ödön fasor 9. Hungary

1.1.4 Contribute to disinfecting and redistributing used and left-behind blankets

The Golgota Christian Community has a 11-year-long experience in community work with homeless people among other. They have professional laundry facilities and have volunteered for collecting, disinfecting and redistributing used and left-behind blankets, so that your donations are used in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way. For more information, please visit their homepage (mostly in Hungarian, for translation, please contact tunde.marusnik+refugees at gmail dot com)

Recipient: Golgota Keresztény Gyülekezet (Golgota Christian Community)

Account number: 10400126-00028080-00000002

IBAN: HU41104001260002808000000002

SWIFT: OKHBHUHB

For paypal donations, visit their homepage.

1.1.5 Donation for medical purposes

You can donate money to a local pharmacy in Budapest that provides one of the two local volunteer organisations (Migration Aid) with medicines and other medical supplies needed for on the spot medical care at train stations in Budapest.

Recipient: Mikszáth Gyógyszertár az Egészségért Alapítvány (Miszáth Pharmacy and Health Foundation)

Comment: MIGRATION AID

Account number: 10918001-00000067-39140008

IBAN: HU69 1091 8001 0000 0067 3914 0008

SWIFT: BACXHUHB

1.1.6 Donation for refugee children and their families

Age of Hope foundation was founded in 2010 in order to support disprivileged children. From this summer on they have also been directing efforts towards refugees and their children (collecting and distributing donations). For more info (in Hungarian) and photo-documentation, visit  their FB page and webpage.

Recipient: Age of Hope Alapítvány

Account number: 11600006-00000000-56705485

IBAN: HU2511600006-00000000-56705485

SWIFT: GIBAHUHB

1.1.7 BudAid campaign - donation for NGOs helping refugees

BudAid support the NGO-s who are already doing their best to help the refugees: Migration Aid, Magyar Helsinki Bizottság, Menedék.hu Cordelia Alapítvány, and MigSzol. They’ve created the BudAid Facebook Page, where we’ll post our own content and write the reality of being a refugee. Learn more and donate here.

1.2 Donate groceries

You can order on-line items you wish to donate and send them to the Budapest hub of the volunteer organisation ‘Let’s help the refugees in Hungary’ (more info in English and Hungarian). Volunteers will use your donation to prepare cold travel packages (containings sandwiches, vegatables, yoghurt etc) and eventually warm meals, or tea if those are needed too. IMPORTANT: remember for the time being (20.09.) storing capacities are very limited, so please only order items from the below list.

1.2.1 What type of food to donate

  1. unflavoured processed cheese for sandwiches (see example here)  
  2. unflavoured triangular cheese (Kockasajt, see example here)
  3. unflavoured yoghurt (see example here)
  4. paprika (see example here)
  5. bananas
  6. apples
  7. muesli bars, chocolate bars

1.2.2 Where to send grocery donations

Address: Berkocsis street 41.

Zip code: 1084

District: 08

City: Budapest

Comment: Pince, zöld ajtó (this means basement, green door)

(Recipient If needed: Segítsük együtt a menekülteket csoport)

Please make sure that delivery time is between 9 am and 7 pm.

1.2.3 Where to order food from

Tesco

G’Roby - look for the UK flag on the top of the opening page to switch the language to English

1.3 Be politically active

Urge your local government to take action in order to force the Hungarian government to uphold the words and the spirit of the Geneva convention and offer humanitarian aid to refugees staying in Hungary.

Demand the same from your local government. .  

Sign the petition demanding a better and humane refugee policy in Europe.

Sign the petition in favour of resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S.

Sign the petition demanding from the European Council a humane treatment of refugees with regards to the coming winter.

1.4 Spread the word about the grassroot movements and their tremendous efforts to ease the situation of refugees

Please, do remember that Hungary is not equal with its government and their action. Literally thousands of people have formed different grassroot volunteer groups to help refugees in need. These groups have provided a wide variety of help from food and blankets til transport and legal aid, without getting paid but facing real threats of prosecution. For more check out a summary of some of the most notable results of these volunteer groups. The new portal, called Refugee Crisis in Hungary is run by a handful of volunteers and is trying to give a nuanced picture of the situation in English. It can be an insightful and valuable source of information that might not be found elsewhere in global press.

2 How to help if you are in Hungary

2.1 Prepare and distribute food

You can join the volunteer organisation ‘Let’s help the refugees in Hungary’ (more info in English and Hungarian) to prepare and distribute food in Budapest. They make breakfast packages and tea among others. Volunteers are asked to register via a google spreadsheet when they wish to come (row 5 morning shift, row 6 afternoon shift, row 9 night shift, row 10 transport and distribution with own car between 12.30-14.00 pm). Max number of participants is 20 people/day (due to limited room). Spreadsheet is in Hungarian but is pretty self-explanatory, contact tunde.marusnik+refugees at gmail dot com for eventual translation.

3 Volunteer groups, people you can get into touch with

Segítsünk együtt a menekülteknek (SEM/SEAM) - a volunteer group with broad profile, valuable experience with logistics of food donations, and good connections to both local and national volunteer groups in Hungary

MigSzolSzeged - a local volunteer group in the Szeged/Röszke area with solid local knowledge and a good communication channels to local authorities

Budapest-Bamako SOS Refugee 2015 - a volunteer group that is especially effective in transporting donations within Hungary. They also set up a medical tent at Röszke and have collected huge amounts of blankets (learn more about their fundraising under section 1.5.1)

MedicalAid - a group of medical professionals providing first aid and other treatments which are possible on the go

MigrationAid - a volunteer group with broad profile and connections to most of the country

More about MigrationAid in English.

MigrationAid Keleti - A subgroup and MigrationAid which focuses on issues and operative tasks connected to Keleti railway station in Budapest

Refugee Crisis in Budapest - a volunteer group covering hungarian situation and sharing news in English and German. They have a public news blog.

Let’s help refugees in Hungary - started out as the English version of SEM, content differ a bit in these groups as their target is different and it’s impossible to translate everything that happens in the Hungarian group.

Volunteers for refugees

Students help refugees - international medical students based in Hungary

Help Budapest refugees 

Refugee Aid in Hungary

Train of Hope - an Austrian volunteer group working at the main railway station in Vienna.

Train of Hope on the web, phone: 0043 699 11 22 10 33, email: info@trainofhope.com