Where we started and where we got to
Although it hasn't been a year since Dorcas camping was transformed into a temporary home for Ukrainian refugees, there were a lot of milestones in the life of the Refugee Center during these nearly 10 months. A year ago in January, we had no idea what comprehensive changes would take place in the life of the Dorcas Ministries. At the beginning of 2022, we only followed the Russian-Ukrainian events from the news, and then suddenly we fell into it. It happened in February, which we all feared. The first bomb was dropped in Ukraine, and people were no longer safe. Everything happened suddenly, so we had to act according to our existing knowledge. Our main goal was to provide a home for families who had nowhere to go.
Primarily, we wanted to improve the condition of the accommodations, since in February they were not yet suitable for permanent housing. We insulated and rewired some of the summer houses to make them livable in the long term. We also constantly change the windows at the reception for better insulation. We also thought of the children, we built a playground for them, which was immediately taken over by the youngest.
After opening in March, there were still fewer than 60 refugees living in the campsite, but now we are caring for 193 people a day. Along with this, of course, the number of employees also increased. In the spring, 10 colleagues worked at the foundation, and today the number of employees has increased to 45. Healthcare workers, teachers, administrators and maintenance workers all come to work every day to help these troubled refugees.
As we got to know the residents better, it became clear to us that the children urgently need to find a solution to make up for the gaps in school. To this end, volunteer teachers initially arrived, and then The Hungarian Interchurch Aid helped the young people with their studies. And from September, in collaboration with UNICEF, following a developed pedagogical plan, we created a catch-up school here at the campsite. In addition to the 4 classes, we also started a kindergarten group. We created two completely new classrooms and a kindergarten. The small chairs, the blackboard and the map hanging on the wall give the children a real school atmosphere.
At the end of the summer, together with the rebuilt big tent, we also got a community hall. This tent is where residents can gather for services on Sundays, as well as the scene of special events. Our most memorable such event was our semi-annual thanksgiving celebration. At this event 5 young girls committed themselves to their faith in the Lord and got baptized. The mother of one of the girls cried and hugged her daughter after the ceremony was over.
We ordered the container houses at the end of the summer, so that when the cold weather comes, the residents of the unheated wooden house will be able to move. We currently have 15 container houses, equipped with their own kitchen and bathroom, so families of 4-5 people can comfortably settle in these temporary homes.
The past year was a renewal in every aspect, we are immensely grateful to those who helped us on this bumpy road. We hope that we can count on you again this year either as a volunteer, supporter or simply as a follower!
And what will happen in 2023? Well, this year won't be boring either. We have a lot of plans and we will tell you all about them in detail! After all, our main mission is to witness transformed lives here at the campsite!