The Refugee Ministry of the Reformed Church in Hungary is organized under the Unit for Refugee Integration, which is part of the RCH’s Diaconal Office and works with Kalunba Social Services Nonprofit Ltd. as implementing partner.
Since the time of the Reformation, the church has aided asylum seekers and refugees. In the 20th century, following the collapse of Communism, the Church provided aid to ethnic Hungarians arriving from Romania and the former Yugoslavia. After 1998, when the geographical restriction to the Geneva Convention was lifted, Hungary started receiving non-European asylum applicants as well. Thus, the main purpose of the Unit for Refugee Integration is to provide assistance, comfort and fellowship to anyone in need regardless of nationality, race, religion or social position through partnership with Kalunba Social Services Nonprofit Ltd.. Our overall vision and strategy is to assist Hungarian society in "welcoming the stranger" and accepting "newcomers" as brothers and sisters. We aim not only to help with material goods but also to provide helpers who see to spiritual and psycho-social needs, welcoming the newcomers into a supportive community.
With its constantly developing methodology, the Diaconal Office of the Reformed Church in Hungary aims to support the service of Reformed diaconal institutions, in order to remain up-to-date on the most recent changes in managerial and financial environments. Being supported by the Diaconal Office, these institutions are able to continuously familiarize themselves with quality professional models and also participate in professional workshops, which make the Diaconal Office the perfect location for the church’s refugee integration work, which is constantly changing and adapting to new circumstances in Hungary. The Reformed diaconal institutions are constantly provided with the up-to-date information necessary for a productive and high-level operation, making this ministry on the cutting edge of integration work in Hungary.
This refugee integration work is coordinated through the RCH under the Diaconal Office’s Unit for Refugee Integration. The Head of the Unit is Ms. Dora Kanizsai-Nagy, who is supported by the Unit’s Coordinator Ágnes Székely. The General Implementing Partner is Kalunba Social Services Nonprofit Ltd., led by CEO Balázs Acsai. Working with an on-the-ground organization helps the Diaconal Office to provide crucial practical support and function in the most efficient way in its refugee integration efforts.
Kalunba Social Services Nonprofit Ltd.was founded in 2014 and became the official implementing partner of the RCH in early 2017. Kalunba takes a holistic approach to refugee integration and seeks to accompany its beneficiaries through their first years in Hungary in a multitude of ways. The three main activities of Kalunba are assisting refugees to access safe housing, helping refugees to further their education and gain employment, and teaching Hungarian in a professional and practical manner to facilitate integration.
- The housing project handles the residential matters of refugees. For participating families, the programme searches for sublets and finances their rent, so that after moving out they can live on their own with their savings, along with the help of their Hungarian connections. This gives families a greater sense of independence and helps them to lead more full and well-rounded lives.
- Kalunba helps to integrate youth into local schools, mainly in Budapest. Participating students and families are helped by Kalunba’s social workers, who show them how to handle official matters and provide the educational support necessary for students to be successful in school. Additional educational opportunities are available to older persons who may need specialized training for employment.
- The Hungarian language project aims to facilitate the integration of refugees in Hungary though professional and accredited language courses. The classes are run by certified teachers and seek to prepare clients for life in Hungary for the long-term.