In November 2019, Former Lutheran World Federation President and Bishop Emeritus of the ELCJHL, Dr. Munib A. Younan and his wife Suad Younan an educator, visited Hungary. As part of their program with the ELCH, they visited the school in Aszód, participated in an interactive class with students and shared their experiences of everyday life in Palestine and the challenges of students in Palestinian schools.
Inspired by their presentation, the Students’ Council together with the principal of the Evangelical Lutheran School of Aszód, Ms Valéria Veizer, decided to dedicate the proceeds of the 2020 Charity Week to a school in the Holy Land. The fundraising event took place in March right before the lockdown due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Currently, the rise of COVID-19 infections in the West Bank has led to increased unemployment and the inability of some ELCJHL parents to pay tuition.
Presiding Bishop of the ELCH Dr. Tamás Fabiny, and State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Hungary Helps Program Mr. Tristan Azbej participated in one of the sessions of the Charity Week fundraiser. They spoke about the local conditions in the Holy Land, highlighted the importance of helping people in the Middle East and raised awareness about persecuted Christians in the world.
Presiding ELCJHL Bishop Sani Ibrahim Azar, as well as ELCJHL schools Director of Education Dr. Charlie D. Haddad, received the donation in 2020 on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah.
“This kindness, I am confident, positively impacts the lives of those who are less fortunate,” Azar commented.
Charity Week is organized each year by the Students’ Council of the school in Aszód. For one week, students sell flowers, sandwiches and baked goods to raise money for a designated social project. There are concerts, sports, hair-braiding and photo booths for a fee contributing to the fundraiser.
The tradition of Charity Week at the school of Aszód began in 2005 when, at the initiative of the senior class, the community joined the school in a campaign of the Hungarian Interchurch Aid to help the survivors of the tsunami in Indonesia.
Since then, the annual donations have been offered for various international or national projects, such as purchasing school equipment for students in Afghanistan, supporting the Institute for the Blind in Budapest and providing financial help to disadvantaged families living in and around Aszód.
“What the students organized at their school in Aszód clearly reflects the Lutheran spirit and tradition of caring for and supporting those in need, regardless of religious, cultural or any other differences,” Azar said.
The two schools in Hungary and in Palestine are now looking for ways to continue the cooperation.
Principal Veizer said, “We believe that this occasion is the beginning of a precious friendship.”