Hungarian Interchurch Aid’s Ukraine Response Enters a New Phase with the Opening of Kyiv Humanitarian Centre
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING SIGNED IN BUDAPEST BETWEEN ACT ALLIANCE MEMBERS FINN CHURCH AID & HUNGARIAN INTERCHURCH AID ON JOINT ENGAGEMENT IN UKRAINE
Apart from HIA, the new centre will also be home to all members of ACT Alliance – an international association of church-based aid organisations – active in Ukraine. First to join the undertaking are Finn Church Aid (FCA), a Finnish aid organisation with outstanding international expertise in the field of education. This week an FCA delegation led by FCA executive director Jouni Hemberg joined president-director László Lehel and other HIA representatives on a visit to Ukraine, and signed a memorandum of understanding between the two organisations upon their return to Budapest.
At the press conference held in Budapest on Friday 13 May, leaders of the two organisations announced the next phase of the joint relief programme executed in international cooperation. With 6 million refugees having already left Ukraine, and further 8 million displaced inside the country, HIA was presented with an enormous task as the leader of ACT Alliance’s response in Ukraine. László Lehel proudly announced:
Since the start of the war, were able to assist nearly 100,000 people with food, hygiene supplies, medicine, psychosocial counselling and shelter both in Hungary and in Ukraine through our humanitarian office in Lviv and the 225 community shelters in the Zakkarpatia region of Ukraine. These efforts will now be complemented by the new Kyiv humanitarian centre, focusing on longer-term projects with the aim of reconstruction and resettlement of territories devastated by the war.
Talking to the press, Jouni Hemberg expressed his gratitude for the cooperation with FCA’s sister organisation – HIA – already operating in Ukraine, which allowed them to quickly and efficiently join in on the work. Capitalising on their exceptional experience, they intend to focus their support towards education – including the renovation of schools, training of teachers and psychosocial assistance for the children – and are eager to reach out to areas in the north, where fighting previously inhibited humanitarian operations.
Jouni Hemberg and László Lehel both stressed that this cooperation is to be understood within the framework of ACT Alliance, and look forward to welcoming more member organisations working in Ukraine into this form of close cooperation.