There are many new arrivals to the camp, some of them deported back to Hungary from other European countries. To support them in their everyday lives in this new environment, we brought with us our a small “Basic Hungarian Survival”-booklet, a collection of introductions to Hungarian civil and social administration. Also, we handed out invitations to our next event on 6th February, which addresses issues concerning the process of integration to life in Hungary. According to people’s own estimate, there are around one hundred people in the camp. Only a few of them are families and the rest are mainly single men. They are mainly from Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and some North African countries. Many are Dublin deportees from other EU countries.
Another Afghan friend, who is also taking part in Migszol’s Hungarian language school, has learned enough Hungarian to have a good conversation with our Hungarian members. He introduced us to his new friends who are now volunteering in the camp. The two volunteers, one from Brazil and the other from Singapore, arrived a few weeks ago and they were very enthusiastic and happy to help us spread the word about our upcoming integration event. We were especially glad to meet a group of Indians and Pakistanis, who were laughing at the political conflict between the two countries, saying that between people, there are no problems, and we met some more people who have now gotten their refugee status and are looking forward to bringing their families to Hungary.
A man who was in Hungary for a few months last year in the summer explained to us how he reached Germany to apply for asylum. He managed to get an appointment from immigration office after three months and was told that his first interview was in July 2016. He realised it will take a very long time to have his request processed, and that he might be sent back to Hungary eventually, so he decided to come back to Hungary on his own. We also met someone who got a negative decision and should now be deported back, except that due to political reason his country of origin will not accept him back. In this case, why is he not granted a permission to stay, so that he can find work and integrate in Hungary, like he would like to?
We also spent some time with a young Afghan boy who explained to us that, like many other minors, the birth date on his documents was changed by the Hungarian authorities to January 1st 1998, a decision that renders minors artificially overaged to allow for a harsher treatment. He is now going to school in Budapest and is very eager to discover Hungary and get to know Hungarian people. Indeed, many people expressed their sadness that they cannot meet more Hungarians, and we all agreed that the way to combat the racism of the government is to forge links between Hungarians and people seeking protection. Many also expressed their desperation on the practice of detention in Hungary, especially detention of families with small children. Together, we were thinking about what could be done to stop this - and agreed that it will take a long time, but that the most important is to raise awareness through creating a dialogue between different groups of society in Hungary.
If you want to help us in this effort, come to our event on Saturday 6 February 2016, but what is most important: if there are people at your workplace, in your group of friends, or in your family, who don’t want foreigners in Hungary - educate yourself, so that you can engage in a dialogue with them!