As MÚOSZ writes, Sándor Balogh, the president of the African Hungarian Union (AHU) gave a talk on the “Black Continent” in MÚOSZ’s headquarter, and answered some questions. His main topic was the question whether we should be afraid of Africa or look at it as the continent of opportunities. He refuted the misbeliefs about how Africa is the starting point of the next big wave of migration.
Sándor Balogh is conversant with the continent of 1 billion people, an internationally appreciated authority on Africa, and a committed businessman. He founded AHU in 2006 with ten other private individuals. Since then almost 60 scientists, contractors, and volunteers joined the union all dealing with Africa. They worked in 24 countries in the last ten years. While they deal with international aid and development activities and African-Hungarian cultural relationships the Budapest based non-profit organization does not get any government subsidy.
AHU arranges long-term support programs for multiply disadvantaged groups in ten countries. Up until now, dozens of Hungarian doctors volunteered to join the Humanitarian Mission (mostly women), reaching about 30,000 patients in places like the Kiwanja refugee camp (Congo), Bamako (Mali), Los Islands (Guinea), Antsirabe (Madagascar) and villages where health care does not exist or is difficult to access. AHU supports schools and social institutions in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali and Uganda. Moreover, it is the humanitarian partner of the Budapest-Bamako Rally. The Union passes tons of donations every year to different kinds of educational and health care institutions of Africa.
The African Hungarian Union is an active member of the Hungarian and European civil sector dealing with Africa. In Hungary, they take part in programmes that shape attitudes and represent interest. Today AHU is the biggest Africa-centred participant of the media in Hungary: they operate several radio programmes and websites (www.ahu.hu, www.afrikatudastar.hu) and send newsletters biweekly. Furthermore, the organization takes part in many independent audio-visual projects, supports and popularizes initiatives and events (exhibitions, Africa Day series, expeditions) dealing with Africa in Hungary. The Union finds it important to raise consciousness in the Hungarian society about the fact that everything happenning in Africa today has an impact on us in terms of social responsibility. AHU is the member of the Hungarian Association of NGOs for Development and Humanitarian Aid (HAND) and other inland and international forums.
According to Sándor Balogh, the African-Hungarian economic relations bring up the rear behind the rising economic and commercial relations between the Eastern-European countries and the “Black Continent”. This is well-illustrated by the fact that, while the Czech Republic is represented by 14 economic secretaries in Kenya, Hungary is presented by only one.
Copy editor: bm