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Businesses Stepping up for Ukrainian Refugees

Ukraine Crisis

Ukrainian war refugees arriving at railway station in Budapest on March 5, 2022, are greeted by aid workers handing out food and supplies.

Photo by lithian / Shutterstock.com

Businesses across Hungary and the region are stepping up their efforts to aid and assist Ukrainian refugees displaced by Russia’s invasion of the country. Here’s a roundup of what some have pledged.

Hungarian Bankholding

In response to the Russo-Ukrainian war, the Magyar Bankholding Group says it is donating HUF 1,000 on behalf of each employee, totaling HUF 10.5 million, through the Bridge for Transcarpathia (Híd Kárpátaljáért) aid program.

The group announced the donation at an internal corporate event held on March 11, where it also encouraged colleagues to make further donations.

“As one of the largest groups of companies in the country, we felt it was important to join the Bridge for Transcarpathia initiative, exercising our responsibility to society,” explained Zsolt Barna, chairman and CEO of Magyar Bankholding.

“In addition to the joint donation, many of our colleagues are also supporting the refugees from the war through voluntary work, which inspires the owners and management to continue to help,” he added.

Donations can be made to the Bridge for Transcarpathia via the national helpline 1357 for HUF 500 per call or text message. The program is also accepting financial contributions from donors to the account number 11711711-22222222.

In addition, the charitable organizations participating in the aid program are also looking for offers of accommodation and host families and donations of food (especially non-perishable food).

Magyar Bankholding Ltd. is a domestically-owned financial holding company that will oversee the merger of Budapest Bank Zrt., MKB Bank Nyrt., and Takarék Group.

The company commenced effective operations on Dec. 15, 2020, after the central bank of Hungary approved the merger of three credit institutions, and the shares of the key owners were transferred to the joint holding company, establishing the second-largest banking group in Hungary.

Futureal Group

Under the slogan “We stand with Ukraine!” leading regional real estate developer and investor Futureal Group says the employees of its various units have made several commitments to help refugees from Ukraine.

The group has pledged to donate HUF 300 mln from corporate funds in addition to what is raised by its employees to support humanitarian projects in Hungary, Poland, Romania.

At the same time, it is identifying properties from within its CEE portfolio that can be repurposed into a suitable location for humanitarian activities. In line with this, work to convert buildings in Gdańsk, Wrocław, and Warsaw, all in Poland, into shelters and a temporary kindergarten for refugees has begun.

Cordia, Futureal’s residential unit, says it is offering furnished rental apartments in Budapest free of charge to refugee families. The company is an established brand in Hungary, Poland, and Romania, has a pilot project in Spain, has bought a U.K. property developer, and has a 15% stake in a listed Dutch company. It is also asking its customers to provide housing if they can and support aid organizations working to address the crisis.

The group says it is working with several humanitarian aid and medical organizations that help rescue people from Ukraine.

“We are following events in Ukraine with a heavy heart and with a deep sense of duty to help,” said Gábor Futó, founder and co-owner of Futureal Group.

“I am very proud of everyone at Futureal-Cordia Group, as many of our colleagues have already taken in refugees, and many are also preparing to actively participate in the programs and donations we are organizing,” he added.

Wolt Hungary

Finnish-based delivery service Wolt says it is making a significant donation of EUR 1.5 mln to support relief organizations. Local subsidiary Wolt Hungary has made it possible for users to directly support the work of UNICEF in helping children with a few clicks of its application.

Wolt says it finds the war situation in Ukraine “deeply depressing because the steps that led to it run counter to the values represented by the company,” which is present in 23 countries across Europe and in Japan.

“Therefore, a number of measures have been taken to support those affected by the crisis in Ukraine, because compassion is no longer enough: action is needed,” the company adds.

In Hungary, the Wolt app now provides customers with the opportunity to directly support the work of UNICEF. (The charity was originally founded in December 1946 as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund to provide immediate relief to children and mothers affected by World War II.) Users can choose to donate HUF 500, 1,000, 2,500, 5,000 or 10,000.

Wolt Hungary’s employees are also collecting donations of food, baby care products, vitamins, disinfectants and the like and delivering them to designated collection centers.

Wizz Air

Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air has confirmed that it is continuing to make free seats available to Ukrainian refugees on all continental flights from neighboring countries.

“We would like to reassure all Ukrainian refugees that there are still a significant number of free seats on all flights departing from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, including flights from Budapest, Gdansk, Krakow and Katowice,” the airline said.

“We’ve also extended the travel period for these free seats from the end of March to April 10, 2022.”

In addition to the free seats, Wizz is also offering a EUR 29.99 “rescue fare” on all other flights, or EUR 69.99 on flights to the UAE, Iceland, and the Canaries, “to ensure refugees have access to affordable travel no matter where they are located during this time of crisis.”

What is your business doing to help Ukrainian refugees? Email us the details in English at editor@bbj.hu or news@bbj.hu

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of March 25, 2022.

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