In Response to Refugee Crisis, Tales Of Kindness and Charity From Across Europe

Child Refugee Eats An Apple
A child of migrants takes a bite of an apple outside a train station in Budapest, Hungary August 3, 2015. While Hungary is an avenue rather than a destination for the migrants, the central European country is increasingly weary and polarised as the influx grows. Conflicts have begun to appear, and the government is taking an ever harder line. Picture taken August 3, 2015. Laszlo Balogh/Reuters

Frustrated by a lack of action on the part of their governments, thousands of people across Europe have decided to pitch in and help those fleeing from conflict and persecution in the continent's greatest refugee crisis since World War II. Here are some of the stories of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

Tom and Jerry Screenings in Hungary

Children stuck at Budapest's main international railway station were temporarily transported from life in a hastily assembled refugee camp on Wednesday when volunteers from an events company decided to host an outdoor screening of the cartoon Tom and Jerry. Pictures on Twitter showed the delighted faces of the children enjoying the show, in what was a brief moment of happiness in a week that has seen ugly standoffs between desperate asylum seekers and police at Budapest's Keleti station.

Some rays of light. Hungarian volunteers have set up an outdoor projector playing "Tom & Jerry" for kids. #keleti

— Andrew Byrne (@aqbyrne) September 2, 2015

German Volunteers Create Online Phrasebook

A group of German volunteers including linguists, artists and consultants have pooled their resources to create an online phrasebook to help asylum seekers navigate their new surroundings. The Refugee Phrasebook project provides basic useful vocabulary and sentences related to their most common immediate needs, and currently contains vocabulary and phrases in 28 languages. Among them: "I was stabbed", "I don't understand" and "sorry, there is nothing left."

Europeans Open Their Homes

Residents of Iceland, the most peaceful country on earth, came to the aid of those fleeing Syria, the least peaceful country on Earth, by offering to house refugees in their homes earlier this week. More than 12,000 people have signed an open letter posted by author and professor Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir on Facebook to their welfare minister, Eygl Harar. Elsewhere, a couple based in Berlin have launched a website which matches refugees with roommates in an attempt to help those living in makeshift accommodation, while in Spain, municipal and regional authorities including the cities of Madrid and Barcelona are teaming up to to create a network of refugee-friendly cities.

Bayern Munich Football Team Pledges Money

The German football team Bayern Munich has pledged to donate money and set up training camps for refugee children in Germany. As part of the plan, the team will raise and donate 1 million euros by setting up a charity friendly match. In a statement on their website, club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the club "sees it as our social responsibility to help the refugees, needy children, women and men, to help them, and to accompany them in Germany."

Refugees Welcome
Protesters demonstrate for a change in the refugee policy in Europe, in Vienna, Austria, August 31, 2015. The sign reads, "Refugees are welcome." Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Rallies in Austria, Sweden and Britain

About 20,000 people took to the streets of Vienna on Monday to demonstrate against the ill-treatment of refugees, according to police, in the wake of last week's tragedy when 71 dead migrants were discovered to have suffocated in the back of a truck. Banners held up read messages such as "Refugees Welcome" and "I don't want Europe to be a mass grave." In Sweden, 20,000 people have joined a Facebook group proposing a Refugees Welcome demonstration in central Stockholm on Sunday. In London too, a march has been organized for September 12, with 77,000 people on Facebook saying they will attend.

Danish Tourists Take Supplies to Greece

Two Danish tour operators have offered to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilograms of goods to donate to refugees in Greece. The scheme allows all customers flying out of several Copenhagen and Stockholm airports to take the extra baggage free of charge to the Greek islands of Kos and Lesbos on flights operated by Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. Around 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have taken advantage of the offer, according to website The Local.

Billionaires Offer Islands and Homes

While thousands of ordinary people have begun mobilizing, so too have some high-profile figures. Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, the 10th richest man in Africa, has said he hopes to buy an Italian or Greek island for refugees, while Bob Geldof has offered to house three refugee families in his homes in London and Kent.