The annual report of our aid organization is an important element in the transparency of our operations and also gives us the opportunity to look back on the previous year.
In 2018, we opened a new Safe Start Children's House in Olaszliszka, and there have been a number of significant developments in existing sites, both in infrastructure and services. Our regional centres are opening more to the local communities, helping people in need. We place great emphasis on the fact that our activities create opportunities beyond transitional aid.
The relief programs in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iraq have now earned considerable recognition on the international scene. In 2018, we continued our important role in Iraq, where our reconstruction and development programs continued, offering families a real chance to returning home and prospering locally.
The unrelenting trust in Hungarian Interchurch Aid was felt following the tsunami in Indonesia, as well as during the extraordinary fundraising campaign supporting our Iraqi and Transcarpathian programs, and our traditional donations.
Here, too, we thank our partner and donor community, through which every year we can help even more.
2018 in a Nutshell
Domestic Activities - 2018
Assistance to families and children
Assistance to Families in Crisis: In 2018, the National Aid Centre was responsible for managing the individual requests for assistance received by Hungarian Interchurch Aid. In 2018, the centre was able to provide in-kind support in 16,000 cases, but our employees informed tens of thousands of applicants about the forms of support they could use in the state care system.
Child Development: In 2018, we put great emphasis on the development of children in need, helping them to catch up: more than 1,500 children regularly participate in our development programs. Our diverse development activities (horse therapy, physiotherapy, adventure programs, tutoring, creative activities, special education and psychological services) and personalized development plans give the children a chance to change. We organized two rounds of summer camps for children in need in Gunaras, opened a new Safe Start Children's Home, a salt room in our Szendrő centre, we helped 1000 children start their school year with teaching materials nationwide and started the development of children in Gönc district - a few examples of priority projects from the continuous activities of our 10 children centres.
A Way Out of Poverty: There are already 5 cities (Budapest, Kastélyosdombó, Miskolc, Orosháza, and Szolnok) where we run temporary homes for families who have lost their homes. These institutions serve to keep families together and help them move on.
In 2018, our model program continued in Kastélyosdombó. People moving to the special family homes receive training in gardening and animal husbandry, to break free of the social support system and start a new life. Job creation is expanding: a new herb garden and drying centre, along with crop production, animal husbandry and cheese making, provide new agricultural projects for locals. Furthermore, the newly started hops plantation provides the chance to once again grow hops in Hungary. The Heineken Initiative is a commercially long-term sustainable program that provides job opportunities to families.
The model program is also being implemented in several temporary homes (Miskolc, Szolnok, and Mosonmagyaróvár). This year, the parents were involved in labour market development, and in individual and group development. This methodology was also used in our centres in Vizsoly and Boldogkőújfalu.
Supporting the Homeless
In 2018, HIA operated homeless assistance centres in three cities; Budapest, Debrecen and Gyula. In addition to the possibility of warming up, bathing and eating, our institutions provided personalized help and advice in administration and job search; a chance to integrate into society. Our street and sub-regional search services regularly helped people who seek shelter not only in the streets, but also in the country in detached farms, or even in makeshift tent-like structures on the edge of the city.
In addition to the nearly 400,000 meals distributed during the daily meal distributions, we delivered over 10,000 warm meals to the needy in our advent meal distribution.
Our centres provided comprehensive assistance to addicts at 6 points in Hungary (Budapest, Debrecen, Eger, Kastélyosdombó and Szolnok). Opportunity creation is a rarely highlighted, but it is an important area of our work in helping people get rid of addiction.
The continued Game with Borders program brings the attention of young people to the dangers of gambling in a thoughtful way, in Martfű, Miskolc, Olaszliszka, Orosháza and Szolnok. So far, 1700 children have been reached through school and afterschool study hall activities in more than 400 sessions. The information points established in 2017 continued to operate in 7 cities, aiming to provide information to those involved in gambling addiction.
Support to Victims of Abuse
In 2018, we paid special attention to victims of partner violence. Our Safe House provides shelter for mothers and children fleeing violence. 58 families received housing and protection in three temporary homes and two crisis centres.
New crisis support centres were launched at four locations (Budapest, Miskolc, Szolnok, Orosháza), where our specialists provide personal counselling to victims of partner violence. We continued to operate our online support service launched in 2017: here anyone can anonymously consult our psychologist, lawyer or social worker.
In our development program in nine locations, we pay special attention to children affected by abuse through special programs and camps helping them handle traumas.
We also put great emphasis on prevention and social awareness. We launched a national awareness campaign in 2018 titled ‘love doesn’t hurt’ that uses a unique installation (giant matrojska dolls) to not only address abusers and victims, but also those who witness abuse in their surroundings.
International Activities – 2018
In 2018 we provided assistance in several crisis areas: in Northern Iraq we opened a new local office, we continued our earlier programs in Eastern Ukraine. Our humanitarian and development programs continued in Transcarpathia, Transylvania, Vojvodina and Afghanistan.
For the fifth time, we have provided significant assistance through the UN World Food Program (WFP), this time more than ever before. In 2018, the HIA started 4 programs; a total of 6021 tonnes of food were distributed within these. The number of beneficiaries was also high: 162,981 people received assistance in the provinces of Baghlan, Balkh and Samangan.
In the first program, the Relief Organization provided financial support to the WFP. A total of 1,500 disadvantaged beneficiary families were supported and trained during the program specifically for women. To carry out the training, HIA established 24 training centres, which organized crafts, weaving, gardening, and tailor and dressmaker training. In the second program, besides the trainings, the participants received financial support. A total of 600 women and 200 men took part in construction training or embroidery, leather-working and wool-spinning training.
During the third program, 1,500 families received a total of 755 tons of food aid under the food for work scheme. Within this program, a 232 meters dam was built, 48 hectares of forest was planted, and 38,000 pistachio saplings were irrigated. Under the fourth program, the Relief Society has implemented its largest food aid program in Afghanistan so far. In 2018, the country was hit by a huge drought: a total of 250,000 people were forced to move out of the drought. In order to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, the Relief Society started its program in September 2018 in the provinces of Baghlan, Balkh and Samangan, which reached a total of 136,381 people. The beneficiaries received 5,265 tonnes of food.
In 2018 we helped the orphaned children of Târgu-Mureş in Transylvania and the inhabitants of the elderly home. At the start of the school year, we provided support to 165 pupils in need, while during Advent, we distributed durable food and gift packs to the needy. The Christmas donation provided the half year stock of durable food and cleaning material for a home of 35 people, an orphanage of 22 children, and a home of 52 people. We also donated social and development games to children. In addition to the donations in Târgu Mureş, we also sent 100 Christmas food packages to the Hungarian families living in Csángóföld.
In 2016, our permanent representation in Erbil continued to operate. In addition to humanitarian aid, our development programs continued. In our project, launched in October 2017, we opened a new centre in Bashiqa near Mosul to provide support to families returning after the war. In the first phase of the program, we have rebuilt 81 homes, renovated 1 boys and 1 girls' school and reconstructed a water network for 2500 people. In addition to reconstruction, humanitarian aid was provided to 324 families in the form of winter firewood, and 600 families received food and blankets. Apart from tangible help, psychosocial assistance is also an important element of the aid program for families that have suffered significantly.
Our most important Iraqi development program started in 2018: in the framework of the two-year program funded by the European Union MADAD Fund, we provided support for returnees on the Nineveh plain after the war: the focus was on job creation and strengthening of inclusive communities.
On September 28, 2018, Indonesia was hit by a strong earthquake and tsunami, which had more than 2,000 deaths and 133,630 people lost their homes. Our organization, as a member of the ACT Alliance International umbrella organization, has assisted in international cooperation. We have supported the work of the Church World Service, an American humanitarian partner already present on the ground, with the money donated in Hungary. We have contributed to our immediate response to the injured population and provide housing conditions from our inbound offers with our partner organization.
Since 2014, we have been involved in the support of internal refugees in several locations, providing tangible support to more than 60,000 people in 10 regions of Ukraine. As part of our on-site humanitarian work, in 2018, we provided food and hygiene packages to a further 9,000 households. 300 families received fuel support and psychosocial support provided by the HIA to help process war traumas. The main target groups of the program were the elderly living alone, families with disabilities, the needy, the large families and the educators.
We continued our program in Transcarpathia: we provided food, hygiene packages, winter firewood and school support and within the framework of long-term humanitarian development, we provided school support to those in need, and in the framework of a long-term humanitarian development, we helped the children of needy Hungarian families living in Beregszász and surrounding districts to catch up with society. In 2018, a total of 2,860 food and hygiene packages were distributed in 34 locations, and a total of 225 tons of winter firewood support was provided to 450 needy households.
Two development trainers held study hall development activities for 5 hours a week. A total of 62 children attended the sessions. HIA also created a Safe Start Children's Home in Beregszász: in the first half year of the program, 15 mothers took advantage of the services of the Safe Start Home.
On August 17, 2018, a huge flood took place the Rahó district, the flooding Borszék brook caused extraordinary damage to residential buildings. HIA contributed to the restoration of a total of 145 households and families.
In 2018, HIA again supported the start of school year in Vojvodina. This year, 40 upper school and 35 lower school pupils of the Mosa Pijade Elementary School in Debeljača received school materials. During Christmas, together with our local partner organization (EHO), we delivered gift packages for 200 children living in the Novi Sad area.
In addition to providing continuous information on the activities of the Relief Organization and the feedback to the donors, in 2018 we announced three planned and three extraordinary fundraising campaigns to support our work.
In addition to ‘School Starts Together’ and the advent campaign, which has become the biggest fundraising event in Hungary, we launched the Cloudless Childhood program series for the fifth time in May.
In addition to the planned collections, we have launched extraordinary fundraising campaigns for the victims of the Indonesian tsunami, for elderly and families in need in Transcarpathia, and the internally displaced people of Northern Iraq.
In the summer of 2018, HIA announced a campaign in support of persecuted Christians in Iraq. The special feature of the campaign was that author and poet and János Lackfi, helped bring the stories of the suffering families to the close attention of the public. The József Attila Prize-winning poet used his creativity to give an insight into what families experienced and what dilemmas they are struggling to with; to return to the ruins of their former lives.
The crisis in eastern Ukraine has led many families in Transcarpathia in a difficult situation, and before the most difficult winter months, HIA has raised funds to help as many people in need as possible during this critical period.
In October, we announced a fundraising campaign to help the survivors and victims of the tsunami that destroyed large areas in the Indonesian islands. As the only Hungarian member of the Geneva-based ACT Alliance, which brings together some 120 organizations, we supported the on-site humanitarian program of the alliance from the donations received.
Volunteering is one of the foundations of our organization: in 2018, nearly 1000 volunteers helped our work, together with hundreds of new volunteers. Many of our specialists held lectures, workshops, awareness-raising programs in educational sessions, in summer camps and festivals. On several occasions we organised volunteer training and preparation sessions and regular meetings to keep our volunteers and increase their commitment.