Student Refugees from Ukraine in Hungary

A few words from Bonny:

I am an American living in Budapest, and a passionate member of a small, grassroots volunteer group that supports foreign students studying in Ukraine who arrive as refugees in Budapest. 

The majority of these students are from Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Congo, and Somalia).  Many were in Ukrainian medical school with hopes to return to their home countries as healers.  However, the war has abruptly cut their education short.  

It is heartbreaking to hear these young students’ stories and their escape from Ukraine. One student had only two months remaining of his grueling six years of medical studies.   Many arrive in Hungary with nothing more than their passports and a laptop.  They have no change of clothes.  Their world has been shattered. 

We support these students by offering emergency services and temporary housing after they arrive in Hungry.   First we bring them from the Budapest train station to the Pentecost International Worship Center, PIWC Budapest.  The Church is run by a Ghanian, Emmanuel Abeku Essel, and functions as a processing center for these refugees. 

The number of students arriving on a daily basis is staggering.  20 students sought help at the church on Feb 27, the first Sunday after the first bombs dropped in Kyiv.  150 students the next day.  500 students by the end of week. 750 students by the weekend.

Many students arrive in Budapest alone, their families back home worried for their safety. At the church we provide a free meal, personal hygiene items, and a warm place to make plans for the next stage of their journey.  

After attending to their immediate needs, we help these students find short to medium term accommodations so that they can make longer-term plans for their future.  We book blocks of rooms at hostels for 2-4 weeks at a time. 

All of our support for these students is funded through donations. 100% of what we raise goes directly to essential items such housing, food, clothing, and personal hygiene items.  We take no overhead. 

With your participation, these students can piece together the shards of their fragmented lives so that they can return to their home countries as thought leaders, healers, and change makers. 

This fundraiser is only for use at the efforts provided through Emmanuel Abeku Essel’s PIWC in Budapest, specifically helping African and other displaced international students.

GoFundMe Link:

Updates will be posted regularly about the refugees and their stories.  Every day changes with more refugees coming.

I personally oversee how the funds from this GoFundMe campaign are spent and ensure that 100% of your generosity goes towards supporting the students.  This cause is important to me because as a foreigner, I know first hand the difficulty of navigating foreign systems, let alone during a crisis without a place to call home.


Donations (151)

  • Anonymous
    • $10 
    • 1 yr
  • In Memory of Josephine Lukoma
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $150 
    • 2 yrs
  • Michelle Cagnin
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Mieko Shibata
    • $200 
    • 2 yrs

Fundraising team (3)

Bonny Pratt
Raised $2,265 from 25 donations
New York, NY
Anne Silin
Team member
Geoff Mallory
Team member
This team raised $15,446 from 126 other donations.

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