From danger of war to security: Bus full of toys welcomes children from Ukraine

NEWS 18.03.2022 13:50
Source: UNHCR

Several times a day, a train packed with refugees arrives from the war-torn Ukrainian town of Chop arrives in Zahony in Hungary. The two places are only a few kilometres away, but one is a place of fear and war, and the other is a place of security. The children are greeted in Zahony by a bus full of toys.

A bus from Great Britain full of toys greets children from Ukraine so they could forget, at least for a moment, the horrors of the war in their homeland and bring back the smile on their faces.

David Fricker is a volunteer who arrived from the UK and who, with the help of children and good people, collected 7,000 teddy bears for Ukrainian children.

“I was on holiday in Budapest recently and when I came to the train station I saw children from Ukraine, refugees arriving. I also saw a man on a bicycle handing out teddy bears to the children. I thought it was a really nice gesture and that it would be good to do something for children from Ukraine. I returned home to the UK and with the help of three friends we collected 7,000 toys in just seven days,” Fricker told UNHCR.

The toys also carry messages of support, love and peace for the children of Ukraine.

“We contacted several schools and told them about the idea. The children donated their toys and wrote messages of love to their peers from Ukraine,” volunteer Neil Sansam said.

Apart from stuffed animals, there are also sweets for children.

The little ones approach the volunteers carefully and with a big smile on their faces and choose toys.

But sadness and fear are seen in the grown-ups’ eyes.

One of the interlocutors told UNHCR that they have been on the road for days, fleeing war-torn Kharkiv.

Her daughter joined the army, she is a nurse. The son-in-law was killed. She and her three grandchildren have been fleeing to the safe zone for days. They have relatives in Germany and are trying to get there. Only the eldest grandson of the three knows that their father was killed. The other two are too small to understand.

There are countless similar destinies in Hungary.

As Zoran Stevanovic from the UNHCR pointed out for N1, it is only a few kilometres from the hell of war to security. A train with ten wagons arrives several times a day from Chop in Ukraine to Zahony in Hungary. Over the past 24 hours, 8,600 refugees have entered Hungary.


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