Dec 28, 2017

Let children play

Acrobalance workshop
Acrobalance workshop

In December our activists organized acrobalance and juggling workshop for migrant children in the one of the migrant center on the border with Croatia.

Children always need some fun, so we decided to organized this workshop in order to learn them some new skills and to animate them. On this occasion, we had all day workshop and then artists performed the play for all people in the migrant center. Further, we had the New Year's presents for them, packages with the sweets for every child to say them that we know that they are in our country and somebody is taking care of them. Even they just want to transit, our message is: „If you decide to stay, you should know that you are welcome because migrations are ok, it is all about people.“

This workshop was organized as a part of the project „I am a refugee, I am migrant, I am human“, supported by Embassy of Norway and organization from Serbia Group 484. The name of the campaign is the message that we already mentioned „Migrations are OK. It is all about people“. Also, during the workshop, migrants have had the opportunity to learn more about the risks of trafficking in human beings and how they can prevent being exploited and what to do in the situation if children separate from parents, what is one of the different topics of the European number for missing children in Serbia 116000. We distributed leaflets and played the video spots from the campaign where they can read and see more detailed information about preventive measures and whom to turn to if they survive exploitation or in the situation when the child missing i.e. separates from parents.

The performed action benefits these people directly as it responds to their need for integration into the Serbian society. We expect them to have more information about the rights, and possibilities through the integration process, better acceptance from the citizens in local communities where they are/will be settled.  Happiness in the eyes of the children, their smiles and excitement was proof that we did it very well.

After those activities, we were touched and honored by the invitation of one family to visit them and to share some more time together. They opened their door for us, but we felt like they opened their hearts to us, too. In one small room, they put all their world, the pieces of the past (little memories which they saved to keep them connected to the home they left) and bare necessities of the nowadays life (clothing, footwear, food, etc.). In a friendly atmosphere with the scent of cardamon tea which we drank together, we talked about dreams and desires for the next year.

At the end of the year, all people want the same from New, to be healthy and happy. Let's build the bridges of humanity and help the most vulnerable to be safe and to follow their dreams. They count on us! 

Collage from acrobalance
Collage from acrobalance
Juggling workshop
Juggling workshop
Oct 11, 2017

When someone cares about me

Through ASTRA SOS hotline we received a phone call from our partners who were in contact with a woman who is victim of human trafficking. She had medical problems, so she needed help. The SOS consultants visit it her in order to get familiar with her situation and check which way they can provide her assistance.

Being in contact with her, we found out that she had very tough life and she was deprived from normal childhood. She lived in great poverty, so in order to survive, she had to look for the food in garbage containers nearby. From very early age she had to struggle for her existence, because she suffered family violence. Therefore, she showed us her drawings indicating that she is and she wants to stay a child.

As she was married by force, her husband’s parents took her abroad and that is when the agony of her life started. They took all her documents. They started exploiting her sexually and they made her commit different criminal acts. She was aware of the bad consequences if she didn’t make enough money every day. In the moments when she wasn’t in the street under surveillance, she was locked in an apartment, not knowing the hour or the part of the day. She was physically abused on daily basis, until one day she managed to escape. Afterwards, she sought help from the police. With their assistance she found the shelter, where she is still stays, so that she doesn’t have to go back to her parents’ house.

We accompanied her to all medical examinations to make sure that she gets appropriate therapy and also we helped her take care of her dental health. The silence she lived in didn’t do her any good, moreover it was upsetting her. In order to make her stay in that house more pleasant, the consultants brought her a radio, so that she can listen music. This gesture cheered her up and she was very grateful.

During the period she spent in the safe house, consultants from ASTRA kept visiting her regularly, providing her with all necessities. Apart from that they established a friendly relationship with her. That had a very positive effect on her. These were her words: ‘’ It’s so nice when someone still takes cares of me and cares about my wellbeing. That’s why I was lucky to get to know you”.

Oct 6, 2017

By supporting parents, we support children

In the previous period, through the European number for missing children 116000 in Serbia, we were contacted by the mother of a 15-year old boy who ran away from home. As she did not report to the police immediately, and after several hours of disappearance, the mother was not sure if she should report the disappearance to the police or some more time should pass.

When we explained to her that she did not have to wait and what the procedure in the police is, she told us that she will report the disappearance of the son and that she would contact us later. After that, the boy was found very quickly.

However, after a few days, the boy ran away again and it was assumed that he is with the same persons as before. Unfortunately, the elderly persons who were involved in his escape from home also recruited him to commit criminal activities. Luckily, boy was quickly found again.

All the time that we were in contact with the mother we supported her and discussed the options after finding the child. As several problems have been identified, we suggested that they contact a social welfare center and perhaps start with a family therapy due to previously identified problems in the family functioning in order to prevent any future problems.

For many reasons, it is not easy to be young, there are many challenges in growing up, and there are also a lot of misunderstandings in relationships with parents and in general with the authority. Providing support to young people is very important, but also the support to parents who also have their dilemmas regarding how to help their children to deal with all delicate issues and how to support them is also very crucial. 

European number for missing children 116000 in Serbia is trying to provide help and advice regarding above mention issues and to provide help and support in order to reconcile these differences in the best way and to prevent problems in communication and behavior.

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