Transcarpathian refugee helps other refugees


Attila lived in the Ukrainian region called Transcarpathia, among other Hungarians as a minority. He fled to the motherland at the eruption of the Russian-Ukrainian war, leaving the perfect life, home, work and family behind. At this time, he is busy helping out people sharing the same fate.

How did you envision your future before the eruption of the war?

I thought that my surroundings which I had before the war would remain. I can't say I didn't want a little more or better life back home, there are plenty of hardships. Life is not perfect here, but it nowhere is.

How did you find Dorcas and what are you occupied with currently?

An acquaintance of mine got me here, he works here as well, and he recommended the foundation. I mainly work as a receptionist; besides that, I voluntarily teach children reading and writing because many of them don't even have basic knowledge. They don't know the alphabet, and there are also cases when 7-8-year-olds can't hold a pen right. I also undertake coordinating tasks; a couple families are assigned to me who I help with everyday things.

Attila teaches refugee children to write
Attila teaches refugee children to write

What is your opinion about the Dorcas work environment?

At the time of my arrival the works were already ongoing regarding the successful opening of the refugee center. I was surprised to see that the people working here gave 120% effort and they received the refugees with care and giving attitude. As some may know there are mostly gypsy people here, but my experience is that all the guest presenters, volunteers and workers gladly embrace them. 

They don't look at who they are or where they come from, but instead they help them with pure hearts. It was great for me to see this, it impressed me, because back in Ukraine this doesn't really happen. It was great for me to experience this and I'm starting to adapt this attitude.

How does this period of time affect you?

To be honest, I always knew that I'm a patient man, but here you need even more patience to avoid burning out. The refugees living here comprehend things in a different way and it's hard to get them to understand some situations. There are, were, and will be problems with communication, as they are not used to the style of living as us. For us, expressing ourselves calmly and nice and handling our emotions are a principal trait, but it's not for them. We have to tell them the same thing over and over again until they understand. They need to be told 5 or 10 times to put glass and paper in different trash cans.

Practice makes perfect, their writing skills improve day by day
Practice makes perfect, their writing skills improve day by day

What problems did you encounter throughout your work so far?

When the first refugee families arrived, I could see some level of relief in most of their eyes, that they are safe here. Currently 80 adults are present in the refugee center, 50% of which have a workplace, mostly men. Mothers spend the vast majority of their time with their children. Through our activities we strive to give them an outlook for the future, that's it's not just the now, but this is a difficult task. However, good news is that more and more of them are getting a job and they are trying to become self-sustaining. Dorcas takes a huge role in this because we don't want to be giving them fish but instead teach them to become fishers.

How hard do you think it is to make connections with them?

I have an interesting story about this. A couple weeks after moving in, a little girl approached me and held my hand. She heard my name one time before and she remembered it, so she called to me saying: "Mister Attila if you would please..." It is priceless when you can see that happiness in their eyes. Many of them did not receive proper attention before but now they feel that we love them, and this enables them to become more open and connect to us.

 I was touched when I saw people being able to love me regardless of having met only 2 days ago, but it felt like as if we knew each other for years. 

Same can go for the adults, they were also touched the same way. They know that they are loved here, and they are not looked down at.

How do the refugees see the future? Would they like to go home?

Following the end of the war it will still be difficult to make a living in Ukraine in the next 1-2 years therefore many will remain here, and many will come to Hungary after the war in hopes of a better life. This will also depend on what the parties will agree on, will there be an even bigger problem with the persecution of the Hungarian minorities than before. However, according to the conversations I had, I concluded that despite all the difficulties quite a lot of them would want to go home.

What do you think the future holds for you?

I hope that the war will end soon, and I don't have to be afraid of being enlisted as a soldier when I go home. I'm longing to go home although I know that it will be difficult to live there, but at least I'll be home with my family. We will endure the brief hardships together, namely, being separated from each other until things go back in order. This is what I trust in, this is what I pray for, that we don't have to abandon our home, because however good it is in Hungary, that I can speak my mother tongue freely wherever I go and not be stoned for it, the Transcarpathia is my home, I was born there and I'd like to live there for as long as I can.

Would you like to know what exactly people who have had to leave their homes feel? Read the story of a Ukrainian refugee family living in the Reception Centre by clicking HERE