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‘Kolping’ Help Centre for children and families being built from Hungarian donations in Aleppo, Syria

The Hungarian Kolping Association has collected and offered ten million forints to build a Kolping house to help children and families in the civil war-ravaged city of Aleppo, in Syria. The donation was received on Saturday in Budapest by State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Realisation of the Hungary Helps Program Tristán Azbej

Tristan Azbej told Hungarian news agency MTI: “The house will provide help specifically to children who have survived and were traumatised by the war, and families in a crisis situation”.

State Secretary also spoke about how the movement’s leaders “are joining the Hungarian Government’s Hungary Helps Program that aids persecuted Christians in a moral sense, on the one hand”, and on the other are asking for the assistance of the State Secretariat to realise the centre.

The Catholic Kolping movement operates community houses that help children and families in Hungary and would like such a centre to also be built in Aleppo.

State Secretary Mr. Azbej added that as long as the situation does not deteriorate in Syria, the centre could be completed before the end of this year, and that it will be placing special emphasis on the psychological care of traumatized children, in addition to professional training, education, and recreational activities.

The Kolping Association has offered to provide professionals for the functioning of the centre, and also expects professional assistance from the Melkite Church of Aleppo.

“This donation also demonstrates that Hungary Helps is the program of Hungarian solidarity, and much more than a governmental program. So many compassionate Hungarian individuals and communities have expressed their support for our cause that it can be considered a pan-Hungarian program.”

He recalled that in the previous month, he received a similar-sized donation from the Partium-based Reformed Church of Királyhágómellék to help persecuted Christians, and that they regularly receive donations from all over Hungary, from Beregszász to Székesfehérvár and from Budapest to Gyomaendrő.

The movement was founded by a German priest, Adolph Kolping, who began to organise the Catholic Young Men’s Society of Cologne in 1849 as a diocesan priest. His goal was to raise blue-collar youth in the Christian faith and protect their interests.

The Hungarian Kolping Association, which has offered the donation, is a Catholic spiritual movement, the members of which consider the resolution of social problems as their primary calling.

The members of the movement created houses for young men where, where young people received education and guidance after work, and the young men’s society also took care of its members’ health insurance cases and represented their interests. The global Kolping Association developed out of these young men’s houses, and had 24,600 members when its founded died in 1865.

The first association was created in the capital in 1856 after Adolf Kolping’s visit to Hungary. The movement was constantly expanding up to the First World War. In 1922, 58 associations founded the first National Society of Young Men’s Associations. In 1946, there were more than 200 local societies.

They organised professional training courses, tradesmen’s competitions and exhibitions, marriage-preparatory lectures, and cultural events. In 1946, communist Minister of Internal Affairs László Rajk banned the association.

After the regime change, the first reformed association unit was the Kolping Family of Pécs, which began functioning in 1989. The Hungarian Kolping Association was founded in November of 1990.


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