September 13, 2015
By Allison Hantschel
This complex hardly seems like a place that anyone, let alone a child, would want to leave. It has horses to ride, meadows and gardens to run in, and classrooms where they can learn. But for the children arriving in Hungary from the Middle East and North Africa, this home has become a place to flee from, not a refuge.
The children’s home went into crisis mode in May, flooded with refugee children, most of them teens, who have no guardians — legally known as unaccompanied minors. Some of the children left their country of origin alone or with neighbors; others lost their parents along the way.
The home’s employees in Fot were unable to provide basic services for the newcomers. Children slept on mattresses in hallways, food was scarce, and there were no translators who could tell the children arriving from places like Syria that they were safe. It took weeks to register children with local authorities and submit their applications for asylum.