Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!

by Pomoc deci
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Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Let's Help Syrian Refugee Children in Serbia Now!
Nasim checking his new clothes
Nasim checking his new clothes

Nasim from Afganistan will never forget that day – August the 15th in 2015. He was just nine and with his four siblings and parents was trying to get through the border in Greece into Macedonia. There were so many people there, he could hardly breathe from the heat and the crowd, but he held his Dad’s hand tightly. His one-year younger brother Waheed was holding the other Dad’s hand. Their Mom was holding Sonia who was only four in her arms whilst Niam who was 11 and Karim who was 13 were squeezing in with all of them. Hours later as it seemed, it became clear that they wouldn’t be able to get into Macedonia that day. But Karim was not there. Dad went around looking for him, Nasim looked around too scared to make a step away from Mom, but they couldn’t see him. Three days they were stuck at the border, three long days they were trying to find Karim. When they finally reached Macedonia, Dad immediately told police that his son was missing.

The weeks went by, the family came to Serbia and has been put in a Refugee Camp in Bujanovac. Again, Dad informed everyone around that his eldest son was missing. Two additional years have passed. Nasim has been regular participant at the psycho-social workshops, his sisters and younger brother were coming to play with other children too, even their Mom sometimes joined them.

Nasim started going to school. As he admitted, he has frequently relived those days in Greece in his dreams. And Karim has sometimes come to his dreams to tell him that he would find him soon. He believed his elder brother but was not telling his Mom this so that he would not make her cry again.

And then a miracle happened. People have come one day two weeks ago and asked his Dad to go with them. Nasim thought his Dad was flying over the path to the Refugee Camp on his return – Karim is alive and well! He is in the Netherlands in a foster family and has given enough details to the authorities that they were able to find the family in Bujanovac. Back in Greece, he actually went through the border on that day and some people helped him go on. They claimed he was their relative and together they all got eventually to the Netherlands. He was sure his family was also among the crowd until they reached Austria. When he realised that they were nowhere around, he remembered that his Dad had been talking about going to the Netherlands and thought that if he could get there, he would find them. He only reported that he had lost them when he reached the Netherlands. The authorities have found him a foster family to take care of him, but took all the details that he could give them and informed the police and international organisations about this case. That is how they finally found Nasim and the rest of the family in Bujanovac. Now, the paperwork is underway to reunite them all!

The whole Refugee Camp and all the workers there cried with happiness. Nasim’s Dad was told that the family would be sent to Belgrade in order to prepare everything for them to leave as soon as possible for the Netherlands to reunite with Karim.

Everyone felt like doing something special for Nasim and his siblings. We bought him and his younger brother and sisters new clothes so that they would all look good when they meet their brother again.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to help these children in every way we can. With the textbooks for those who go to school, with psycho-social support so much needed after all the trauma and with new clothes and shoes. It all means so much to them and us!

And new outfit for Nasim's little sister Sonia
And new outfit for Nasim's little sister Sonia

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Nasrin all smiles on the stage
Nasrin all smiles on the stage

“I wish I had my room and my dolls back”, said an 11-year old Nasrin, when we asked her what she misses most in a refugee camp in Bujanovac in south Serbia, where she and her mother are waiting for the international birth certificate for her new-born sister before they could be listed for moving to Hungary. Her father is in another refugee camp in Serbia waiting to be allowed to reunite with his family.

“And I miss my friends and dancing with them”, shyly smiling she added. Maja, our Coordinator for psycho-social support to refugee children in south Serbia remembered this when a local school started preparing a performance to mark the World refugee day and asked Nasrin if she would like to participate. Hesitant in the beginning, but overcoming her stage fright, Nasrin joined the group. For two weeks, they were practicing every day and Maja made sure that this lovely girl could join every practice – she went to the refugee camp to pick her up, took her to the school and after the practice, she would take her back to the camp.

So, the 20th of June arrived and all the refugees staying at the Bujanovac refugee camp were invited to the performance. Among the 20 local girls, Nasrin was part of the performance. “This was great, I met new friends and we managed to understand one another. it was almost like being with my friends back home!”, with the broadest possible smile, Nasrin was telling us when she went back to her mother to make sure that Mom saw everything she had done on the stage.

All these children are in dire situation, living in refugee camps, far from their homes, not really understanding where, how and why they are going, not understanding much of the languages around them and having very worried and distressed parents. We have been trying to help them through psycho-social workshops, small toy gifts and provision of opportunities to learn and mix with local children.

On July the 18th, from 9:00 in the morning Eastern Time (15:00 in Europe), GlobalGiving Foundation will match 50% every donation you make, up to 500 USD, as long as 120,000 Matching Funds last.

On this Bonus Day, you can help us continue providing this type of help to the Middle East refugee children in south Serbia. Please, donate whatever amount you can on this day and as soon as the Bonus day starts (the available matching funds go fast).

Please, help us help these children to be children who laugh and play, who, for at least, short time can forget what they miss and what they are going through!

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FLowers for a Spring Day Celebration
FLowers for a Spring Day Celebration

They are four sisters from Iran. With their mother, they were put together in the refugee camp in Bujanovac a month ago. Their father is still in another camp and hopefully, the family will be reunited in the last week of March.

They are new residents of the camp, only a few other refugees speak their dialect, they don’t speak English or any other language. For two weeks, they were only leaving their room for food or other necessities. When our psycho-social support team member Maja asked the children to join the workshops, they gently declined. Maja managed to find a girl who could explain to them what the workshops were all about. Then, the sisters were interested to come, but the mother was still a bit apprehensive, so she showed Maja that she would like to come, too, to make sure it would be safe for her girls. She was pleasantly surprised when she saw two more mothers helping all the children in the group in solving the puzzles, playing with other toys and drawing.

The sisters and their mother have been regular participants in the workshops since that day. The sisters have finally found new friends and could play and be creative with someone other than their own siblings. So, last week, the group decided to create flowers and prepare a Spring Day Celebration. Little did our facilitator Maja know what the sisters were having in mind whilst cutting, wrapping, gluing and putting together bits and pieces of coloured paper. The three-year-old Esther with her flying piggy tails was the conductor of the whole surprise: Maja received a flower from each of the sisters, a drawing of herself from the eldest one and a Magic Wand from Esther. Why a Magic Wand? “This is a Magic Wand to bring all the little girls to your workshop, so that we can all be happy, play and make things, not sit in our rooms!” – explained Esther seriously whilst pointing the Magic Wand at each child in the group.

Yes, this is exactly what we have been doing: bringing little children from the refugee camp together twice a week to spend the time together, play, make friends and not feel isolated in a strange place, with the strange people, in a strange country. They have been through so much in their lives, their parents are exhausted from all the uncertainties and difficulties, there is no safe warm home anywhere on the horizon... They need this safe space, laughter, creative play and friends.

So, please, help us continue doing this, pointing “a Magic Wand” to the refugee children from Middle East in Serbia. Any individual donation up to 50 USD will be matched 50% during the five-day Little by Little Matching Campaign (April 9 - 13th)! And every new recurring donation will be matched 100%!

A Magic Wand to bring all the children together
A Magic Wand to bring all the children together

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Hana wants to be a designer
Hana wants to be a designer

Her name means Hope in Kurdish. And she lives up to the meaning of her name. Hana is a nine-year-old girl from Iraq who has been a refugee since the age of six.

“We lived in a big house in a town in Iraq, my grandparents, parents, my sister and I. My Grandpa was killed by a bomb and then we packed and left. My Mum and Dad, my sister and I went to Turkey first. From there, we went to Bulgaria, and now, we are here. My other Grandpa and grandma are still there”, she explains and one wonders, how many children of her age in the world would know even the names of the countries she talks about as easily as if telling you the names of her dolls.

She has been with her family in a refugee camp in Bujanovac, in south Serbia for the last six months. She knows everyone there, and everyone knows her. She speaks fluently Kurdish, English and almost fluently Serbian, so children and adults alike, all call upon her to help both in the communication among the refugees from different countries and between them and Serbian people at the camp.

“It is easy”, she shrugs her shoulders when asked how she manages three languages. “I can talk easily with everyone because both at kindergarten and school I learnt everything in English except Kurdish language. Here, everyone in school speaks Serbian, so I’m learning it, too. I can tell people what other people say to them in other language and then they can understand.”

Hana also regularly comes to the psycho-social support workshops which we organise twice a week for the children at the refugee camp. She loves drawing and hopes that one day she will become a designer. “When I grow up, I’d love to be a designer, but I will have to practise a lot because it is a demanding profession”, she says very seriously looking.

This little girl who is always running around helping everyone and around 100 other children who are growing up in refugee centres in South Serbia have all been through so much in their young lives. They need our support, the opportunity to be just children and play, sing, draw, or just sit in a warm and understanding environment free from heavy thoughts. Thank you for helping us help them deal with all the trauma and keep hope in the hearts.

Please, consider donating to our project before the end of the year, so that we could also compete for a prize which GlobalGiving Foundation will award to the projects that fundraise most within the End-of-the-Year Campaign!

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Mohammed making his friendship bracelet
Mohammed making his friendship bracelet

Mohammed is a 10-year old boy from Afghanistan. He came with his parents to Serbia five months ago. They have been waiting to be allowed to move on to EU in a refugee camp in Vranje in South Serbia. In one room they have been living and waiting... Mohammed has learnt some English and Serbian, has started going to school a week ago. He has been one of 25 boys from different Middle East countries who have been stuck in Serbia and have no idea where they will be going next, when or how.  Although he can communicate in three languages, he is most frequently sitting alone on a bench in the camp’s courtyard, or just playing some game on his own.

Aisha is an 11-year old girl from Syria. She, her younger sister and mother have been moved from one camp to the other several times. Ten days ago, they were sent to the Refugee camp in Vranje, whilst the father is still in another camp some 20 kilometres away. Aisha is still most comfortable playing only with her younger sister.

As we have been organising workshops for children, grouping both girls and boys of similar ages together to play, learn, express themselves and socialise, last week, Aisha joined the group for the first time. And Mohammed decided to come too. That’s where he has seen her for the first time so close.

Bajram was coming and all the children in the group were creating some gifts, friendship bracelets, drawings for their families and friends. Mohammed was trying to make a bracelet, but the little crystal would not stick to the material. He got frustrated and impatient. He wanted to leave the group. Then Aisha took his ribbon and asked him which crystals he would like to stick to it. What shape, what colour? He shyly pointed to one of those on the table. She took it, glued it to the ribbon and gave it to him. He smiled. In the next half an hour they made two perfect little friendship bracelets together. Mohammed decided to give one to his Mom and the other one he offered to Aisha. She happily accepted.

 Now, they are playing together, drawing pictures of flowers, birds and landscapes. They go together to school. They laugh all the time.

Through various creative workshops, we are providing psycho-social support for 150 children confined to the refugee camps in Serbia. We help them connect, socialise, overcome the trauma they have been experiencing for several years being on the road, going from one country to another, not knowing if they would ever go back home or where they will end up. Thanks to your support, we have been able to do this, to buy the material for the workshops, to buy the necessities for these children and their families, to help them feel human.

Please, help us continue this work, support our efforts to make life just a tiny bit easier for the refugee children from Middle East in Serbia!

Aisha with her Bayram bracelet gift from Mohammed
Aisha with her Bayram bracelet gift from Mohammed

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Organization Information

Pomoc deci

Location: Belgrade, Serbia - Serbia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @pomocdeci
Project Leader:
Donka Banovic
Belgrade, Serbia
$37,460 raised of $99,000 goal
 
257 donations
$61,540 to go
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