We are proud to share a thank-you letter from Babett Tatár, Head of program at the Budapest Methodological Centre of Social Policy and Its Institutions (BMSZKI), regarding our Mini Workshop program, which was conducted in two refugee camps.

The BMSZKI’s Ukrainian Refugee Support Program has been helping families fleeing the war in Hungary for almost two and a half years. The Foundation for Global Human Dignity’s Mini Workshop programs have been of particular importance in this work. As we approach the end of the second full school year, we wrote a short assessment and summary of the educational efforts of FGHD and where we stand in terms of the educational integration of the children who have participated in the Mini Workshop programs.

First of all, allow us to thank you for the FGHD’s Mini Workshop programs! Without the dedication of the mentors and their personal attention to the children, we would not have been able to support them so effectively in their efforts to understand that learning can be a joy and a real asset for their future! Every successful end-of-year report card is the result of your work, as you have supported, encouraged, and taught the children in both of our refugee shelters!

After the outbreak of war on February 26, 2022, the BMSZKI opened its first refugee shelter on Gyáli út, with 100 beds. The purpose of these temporary crisis shelters was to provide immediate refuge. As the need was great, the Bánya Street shelter was also opened on February 28 for an additional 60 people. However, it soon became clear that long-term solutions for refugee families would be needed.

In this work, we received significant help from FGHD, which supported the integration of refugees through its mentors and staff members. Their work, and thus the support for students with multiple disadvantages living with us, was made possible first by the financial support of the SOS Children’s Villages Foundation Hungary, and later by Terre des Hommes and finally the Municipality of Budapest.

FGHD mentors worked with social helpers and social workers at both sites. Three afternoons a week, they conducted school catch-up sessions in the Mini Workshop program and taught digital literacy and programming in the Afterschool Geekery, while also teaching illiterate adults to read and write using an app they developed themselves. Our joint efforts resulted in differentiated learning groups for children, taking into account their individual needs and developmental stages.

Thanks to our child protection-focused social work, the refugee children were successfully integrated into the Hungarian education system by autumn 2023. School drop-outs have been drastically reduced, and many children have integrated into their classes, making friends. The integration of children from Bánya Street was particularly successful due to the small community and the supportive school environment. This achievement is especially significant considering that the Ukrainian education system had not provided such opportunities to these children for many years.

From January 2024, the mentors were replaced by childcarers, who paid special attention to children’s needs and development. The FGHD mentors helped develop and implement personalized development plans for the children, leading to significant progress in their educational integration and academic success. The program, now called the Learning Room, is run by uncle Beni, whom we met through the FGHD. He is the main organizer of the children’s learning activities and also leads a music group. Additionally, there is a colleague who organizes outdoor leisure activities and a women’s group for women and teenage girls.