The experts of Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid) implemented a number of remarkable international operations in 2013.
The Support of Motor-Disabled Children in North Korea
The experts of HBAid visited North Korea twice in 2013. The goal of the visits was to launch a program to support motor-disabled children.
In order to introduce the support program for motor-disabled children to the country, Mr. Sándor Szenczy, President, and Dr. Béla Szilágyi Vice-President of HBAid and an additional three members of HBAid crew travelled to North Korea in April and visited the provisional border between the North and the South, as well as Panmunjom.
Hungarian Baptists have been travelling to North Korea for 10 years, but it was only this year that they succeeded in convincing the North Korean partners to accept their motor-disabled children rehabilitation program. The aim of this visit was to make preparations for the training of personnel working in the North Korean institutions in FLAME therapy. This is a kind of conductive-pedagogy based on the Pető conductive education method. The main objective of the second trip to North Korea by a Hungarian Baptist Aid delegation at end of June was to support the rehabilitation of handicapped people.
Mr. Sándor Szenczy and the Baptist experts paid a second visit to a Pyongyang children’s home which operates without a professional team, so it can be considered as more of a day-care centre for two dozen mentally and physically handicapped children. There are approximately 100 children supposed to be on the waiting list, while the estimated number of people in need of such services is approximately one million.
Besides toys, the workers of Hungarian Baptist Aid handed over some special equipment, so called Pető–furniture, and our specialists had an opportunity to provide therapy for some children. There was a little girl who was able to stand on her feet alone with a little bit of help for the first time in her life after receiving twenty minutes of conductive therapy.
Due to the fact that Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea recognized the existence of the problem for the first time – in contrast to the previous leaders of the country – there are plans for establishing eight centres in eight respective territories of North-Korea.
If the spirit of change persists, the ultimate goal is the reintegration of the disabled people into the society on the long run. Hungarian Baptist Aid is preparing an understanding so that preceptors from North Korea have an opportunity to receive training in Hungary.
‘We would like to establish a model school, as a centre that can serve as a model for that way of operation which is based on the experience accumulated by Hungarian professionals and that would serve as a reference for the whole country’ stated Mr. Sándor Szenczy.
Philippines - Successful Rescue Mission
The first team of three people from the Hungarian Baptist Aid left for Manila on the 10th of November, 2013 at the request for support by the Baptists living in the Philippines. Besides the distribution of 5000 US dollars worth of emergency relief items, the team also performed an on-the-spot need assessment of whether it is necessary to alarm the international Rescue 24 Team.
As it is well known, the typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones recorded, devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. According to the data provided by the international organizations, the total loss of life is estimated over 1200, while entire regions of the country remained isolated without any kind of access through roads or communication channels.
Following the arrival of the team to the Philippines, the humanitarian experts of Hungarian Baptist Aid established contacts with the local partners and they travelled to the centre of areas affected by the catastrophe directly afterwards. They planned to fly to Tacloban by a military airplane from Cepuisland, but temporarily both the air and the ferry transport ceased to operate between the islands because of a storm. Meanwhile, the local partners purchased a truckload of aid consisting of aggregators, drinking water and food and this shipment was launched towards Tacloban. The continuous storms and rains made the rescue operation even more difficult.
The second team from the Hungarian Baptist Aid started its operation at the end of November in the Haiyan-affected area of the Philippines. They gave the local workers aid used for sustaining the children who survived the strike of the typhoon. They met the children receiving the support, and continued the preparation work for the planned children’s home.
The Rescue 24 international rescue team started its operation in Tacloban. Aid workers from the US supported us with water purification and by providing medical assistance.
Sri Lanka - Tsunami-Orphans have Grown up
László Kövér, Chairman of the Parliament of Hungary, was the first to visit Sri Lanka. On his journey, he was accompanied by his wife, by President of Hungarian Baptist Aid Sándor Szenczy, and by Dr.Béla Szilágyi.
Previously, thirty thousand people had been killed on the island as a consequence of the tragic tsunami of 2004.
During his official visit to Sri Lanka, Chairman Kövér visited the island's largest orphanage, the Sri Vajira Children’s Home. The orphanage was built with the participation of Hungarian Baptist Aid, supported in this work by Hungarian donations. The opening of the newly built home, also known as “the Hungarian House”, was shortly after the disaster. Besides other gifts, the delegation handed out school bags, full of school supplies to the 150 children living in the orphanage.
Hungarian Baptist Aid financed the construction of the brand new building thanks to Hungarian donations and the funds raised by HBAid’s „Adopt a Child” program. The 1200 square meter (approx. 13 000 square feet), three-storey building was opened on the first anniversary of the tsunami. The Vajira Sri Children’s Home provides assistance to nearly 300 children, and 100 of them live in what is known as the “Hungarian House”.
Syrian Crisis - Baptists Took Humanitarian Aid to Syrian Refugee Camps
On November 15th, Friday, the workers of Hungarian Baptist Aid took more than 2 million Hungarian Forints worth of humanitarian aid to more than 400 asylum seekers, living in the Vrazhdebna refugee camp in Sofia, Bulgaria, in cooperation with HBAid’s Bulgarian Baptist partner. Director of International Programs at HBAid Dávid Gál said, they had donated hygienic supplies, baby carriage, children’s furniture, school supplies, mattresses, clothing articles and household equipment, as the needs of the inhabitants of the refugee camp dictated. There are approximately 12 000 refugees in Bulgaria. They represent a serious strain on the resources of the country. Zoltán Vad, representative of the Hungarian Embassy in Sofia, was also present when the delegation handed the donation over to the recipients.
Zsolt Németh, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs travelled to Sofia in October. He invited a representative of Hungarian Baptist Aid, which was also an opportunity for Director of International Programs Dávid Gál for handing the first instalment of humanitarian aid over to the Bulgarian partners in October.