Faces from Ukraine
Who are the people who found shelter in Hungary?
“I’m sure the garlic planted in spring has already gone to seed and grown enormous.”
Yaguh and his partner Lyubov had been living together near the Russian border in Bezruky, in the Northern outskirts of Kharkiv, for fifteen years. At the end of February, the war reached them too: the heavy fighting and bombing forced the retired couple to leave their home. In March, they were already saving their lives by fleeing to Hungary. Now they are waiting for peace in Győr, in the worker’s hostel at the industrial park, rented by Migration Aid. They want to return home – if it still exists at all.
“If the war will be over, I’ll take my family home.”
József Farkas has been working in the construction industry since he was 15. He arrived in Budapest from Chornyi Potik in Zakarpattia Oblast one month before the war broke out, to work. In recent years, he worked in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and several times in Hungary. His brother invited him to Budapest in January, where the prime contractor rented him and his wife Sveta a flat. On the first day of the Russian attack, their smaller daughter called them, horror-struck, that the neighbours were packing and people were fleeing from the village.
“I was frightened, I felt my heart beating much faster, I didn’t know what would happen to me and my family.”
16-year-old Danylo and his family fled from Zaporizhzhia to Hungary on 25 February. Next to his home town, 1500 km from Budapest, functions Europe’s largest nuclear plant, one of the war’s major strategic targets. Already in the first days, Russian Special Forces attacked it. News of fights and nuclear risks have been coming almost daily from the place ever since.
“I only have my children. They are my life.”
“My two children gave me strength. And the knowledge that we will cross the border soon and we will be safe”, said Marianna, who fled from Ukraine from the war together with her two children in late February.
“I had to pick the children up to avoid having them stomped.”
Until the war broke out, Anita had been living in Serne in the Zakarpattia Oblast with her two children and her husband. Then she and her children had to leave everything behind – their own house, their entire life. They fled because they feared their life was in immediate danger.
“We do our utmost not to let the children drop out from education.”
As a social worker, he gained his first experience in asylum during the 2015 crisis. First, he helped at the Szeged railway station, then, as the staff member of the UN and then Menedék – Hungarian Association for Migrants, later he worked in Greece, and also at the Serbian-Hungarian border after that. Now, since February, Tamás and his coworkers help families from Zakarpattia Oblast, in the refugee shelter created in the Municipality of Budapest’s nursing home on Zugligeti Road. Since Putin’s conquering war doesn’t appear to end so far, Tamás and his colleagues are planning for long term, so they enrolled the mainly Roma refugee children in the neighbourhood schools.