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!
Fahrid with his drawings
Fahrid with his drawings

Shortly after his arrival to a refugee camp in Krnjaca, on the outskirts of Belgrade in Serbia, Farhad N., a ten-year old boy was recognised for his exceptional talent. Impressed by his drawings, the Camp Management people started calling him "a little Picasso".

"I love to draw, that's the way to express my feelings on paper," says with a smile this charming boy. Some of his drawings are portraits of Ronaldo, Novak Djokovic, Angelina Jolie, Angela Merkel, Salvador Dali and Picasso, who is his favourite painter. Farhad says that by drawing various celebrities, he shows his wish to become as famous as they are one day. For sure, he has become a celebrity at the Krnjaca refugee camp.

He would also love to have a camera so that he can be also a photographer. And he loves music, too. He can play several songs on the guitar. Farhad speaks several languages, besides mother language, he is fluent in English and Greek. He is learning Serbian language too.

His parents have been left hometown Heart in Afghanistan and after a long journey through Iran and Greece, late last year they reached Belgrade with their three little sons. They provided all the documents needed to be granted a permission to continue the journey hoping to get to Western Europe.

"We were just going, kept going ... sometimes there was no water, and sometimes we had nothing to eat," Farhad describes the refugee journey of his family. “In Greece, we had to stay for two months and during that time, I started speaking some Greek”.

His father Hakim explains that they noticed Farhad's talent very early. He began with drawings of cartoon characters. He continued to paint animals, and then family members, brothers and parents, and moved to drawing portraits of celebrities.

Every day Farhad and his brother go to school. His teacher Marica Bus Bjelogrlic says Farhad is very communicative, and a good pupil. Based on the photos, he painted a portrait of Olga Petrov (School teacher killed in the WWII), whose name the school bears. “We will frame this amazing portrait painted by Farhad, and keep it on the wall in the school”, his teacher has promised.

 "It's good here, but I wouldn't like to stay in Serbia. I want to go to America or to Switzerland, I heard that is beautiful country... I want to be a photographer, but more than anything I would like to become a painter", tells us “A Little Picasso”

In 19 refugee camps located in Serbia, more than three thousand children are kept. More than five hundred boys and girls who came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and other countries stay in Krnjaca refugee camp in Belgrade. Almost half of them are without parental care.

Please, help us to help them!

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Smiling Asja and Jasmine with their school peers
Smiling Asja and Jasmine with their school peers

Sisters Asja and Jasmin, from Syria, went back to school after a year spent on different roads from their hometown to Belgrade in December last year.Classmates welcomed their first day at Scholl with flowers and drawings. Boys and girls showed them a school, school yard and offered help in learning. Finally little Syrian refugee girls were with their peers again, among cheerful children.

 For a nine-year Asja and eight-year Jasmine, the first day at the second grade in school was the first day of joy and peace of mind after months’ long, heavy road from Syria which they undertook with their parents. The family wanted to reach the Germany, but they were stopped at the Croatian and forced back to Serbia. They are settled now in a refugee camp in Krnjaca.

 “They are nice girls. After two months at school, they have already learnt a lot of words in Serbian. They are running around with their classmates. The girls are cheerful, very curious and have a lot of questions for the teacher. They are completely adjusted to the school and we see the joy on their faces, Gordana, school secretary has told us.

 “In Krnjaca refugee camp, there are around a eleven hundred people. Half of them are children. They are mainly with families here, we also have more than sixty children who are alone. They fled various countries in Middle East - Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Since the borders to EU have been closed for them, they have been here, in Krnjaca, for a long time now. It is not certain how long they will stay; probably they will not be able to leave soon. Therefore, the organization of everyday life, especially for children, is now much more demanding”, says Diane, Coordinator in the refugee camp.

 In addition to schooling, the Camp in Krnjaca organizes various workshops and courses – English language, different crafts, mainly for the older boys, as well as daily sports activities. In addition to  Asja and  Jasmine, twenty five other children also go to the elementary school in Zemun, Belgrade suburb at the other part of town.

 “Every morning, volunteers accompany children on their way to school by school buses and wait for them to return to the camp”, says Coordinator Diane.

 Refugee camp in  Krnjaca and these children welcome any assistance: clothing and footwear, backpacks for school, the purchase of materials for the workshops.

 Thanks to YOUR donations, Pomoc deci provides hygiene products and clothes: jackets, sweatshirts, underwear, socks and shoes. We also take toys for the youngest children and we acquire the material needed for drawing and painting workshops. We organize expert volunteers to work with refugee children as well.

 We warmly appreciate any help. Please donate whatever you can and help us help as many refugee children as possible! Until March 21st, all your donations will be matched by 50% from GlobalGiving Foundation!

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Hassan learns English and Serbian while waiting...
Hassan learns English and Serbian while waiting...

Hassan A. has recently got a baby brother. It was huge news in the life of this fourteen-year-old refugee boy. For months now, he has been at the Institute for Children without Parental Care in Belgrade, waiting to join his family who remained in Turkey.

When after a long journey from Middle East, Hassan’s family arrived to Turkey, his parents could not continue farther. His mother was pregnant and she could not go on any more. Hassan was sent on with the family friends. He arrived to Serbia, but since he was an unaccompanied minor he was sheltered at the Institute.

This refuge boy expected his parents to join him soon to continue to Western Europe together. Meanwhile, EU countries decided to drastically limit the entry of refugees to EU, and Hassan and his family were stuck separated in two countries.

When we first met him he was sad and lonely, did not have anyone to speak with in his own language. Every day he sadly looked at other boys who as unaccompanied minors stayed at the Institute for Children without Parental Care for a week or two before moving on and being joined with their families.

He wanted to go back to Turkey, but the family told him to wait for them, hoping that they would soon get to Serbia, too. The time went on. It became a bit easier when he could make telephone contact with parents. Hassan got somewhat used to the situation and began learning Serbian and English. He continued his education in the new conditions. Teachers at the Institute say that he will be reunited with his family, probably, early next year.

Pomoc deci has organized workshops as part of psychosocial assistance for refugee children and Hassan is regularly attending them. On regular basis, our organization provides him and other children with the necessities - primarily clothes, jackets, sweatshirts, underwear, socks and shoes. Every time we bring sweets and other things for a little fun – table tennis equipment, badminton sets or toys and drawing pens, blocks or color pens, a broad smile and a hug great us from Hassan and his new friends.

According to the official data, about 10,000 refugees are currently in Serbia. Refugee camps are crowded. Many of the refugee children are with their parents in the streets and parks. Due to the cold weather, their needs are growing, they are increasingly vulnerable, especially children. More and more refugees remain in Serbia, whilst new ones are entering the country every day.

We need your help to be able to help these children keep healthy, both physically and mentally!

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Foto: Guliver/Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Foto: Guliver/Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

The story of Yusra Mardini, a teenage girl and a refugee from Syria went around the world when she won a medal at the Olympic Games in Rio a month ago. From the demolished home in the suburbs of Damascus she had literally swam for life before swimming for a medal in Rio.

Yusra travelled over 4,000 kilometres through Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia and central Europe before settling in Berlin. And so have done and are doing thousands of other boys and girls from the war in Middle East.

In 2015, we, at Pomoc deci, concentrated on helping these children during their stay in Serbia by providing the necessities – shoes, underwear, a clean T-Shirt and sweater. Yusra herself, in her interview at the Press Conference, recalled how much it meant to her when we provided water, food and clothes while she was travelling through Serbia last August.

However, in the first three months of this year, and again this Summer, with your help, we managed to organise, together organisations from Turkey, Greece and Macedonia, support for the children passing through all these countries. And in all four countries, we follow them, give them the most needed clothes. More than anything else, as they say, we help them by talking with them, playing, encouraging them to talk and express their fears, uncertainties and worries. Our psycho-social support in addition to the toys, clothes and soap, shampoo and tooth brushes gives them a feeling that someone cares and no matter what happens will be there for them.

Thank you for helping us help them. Please, continue supporting our efforts! On September 21st , whatever you donate (up to $1,000), GlobalGiving Foundation will match with 30% whilst their funds last. Only with your help, we can help these children survive and some day in future become the world greatest sportsmen, doctors, teachers or engineers.

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Psycho-social help for children refugees
Psycho-social help for children refugees

It was springtime this year when we first met at the Institute for upbringing of children and youth in Belgrade. This is the place where refugee children mostly from Afghanistan and in small numbers from Pakistan come and go on a daily basis. Sabur welcomed us with a warm smile, without saying a word. We entered into a modest room, which he shared with other refugee boys. Immediately, it seemed that we stepped into a bit of Asia. All the walls were covered with drawings of earth, sunny skies, houses, children and black-red-green striped flags. We were surrounded by coloured stories of refugee children showing who they were and where they came from. At this picturesque wall there were a few paintings of strange, giant animals and a boy with strong muscles. It was signed: Sabur.

This fifteen year old boy arrived at the Institute at the beginning of the year, with elder brother who was placed in a refugee camp. He came exhausted, and his twenty-two-year old brother was in poor mental condition. He often visited Sabur and persistently tried to persuade him to continue their journey the smugglers’ help to Western Europe.

Looking at a mild face of a silent Sabur, one could feel the life, tender heart, compassion with it, but suddenly just a little knowledge of this life has been missing. Is he just a boy like everyone else in the world, is he a “kite runner” like the other boys in Afghanistan. Is his ethnic background important, what are the right words to say? What people know about the life of children in Afghanistan, what people know about Afghanistan, anyway? In the best case, it has become a dangerous place to live after decades of wars. Or, this is one of the poorest countries in Asia, where nearly half the population has only one dollar per day for life. Are just those two crude facts enough to embrace every child who managed to escapea country of huge despair?

Sabur and his brother came from such a world. As the oldest sons, they worked hard physical labour, even in the quarry. And when the wage was not enough for the family to survive, parents sent them into the world, to get the best they can, to find work and send some money back home. This was the last solution for the poor family of six boys and two daughters to go on with their lives.

After four months Sabur was pleased to see us back again. He smiled, opened his arms joyfully and embraced us.

“How are you Sabur?”

“I am well. And how are you?”, asked Sabur in good Serbian language. He was proud he succeeded to surprise us with his Serbian language knowledge.

It was a touching and warm meeting as if we were friends for a long time.

This time Pomoc deci wanted to start up with workshops as a part of psychological help for refugee children in the Institute. We brought sweets, a few balls for sport, badminton and accessories for drawing. Sabur immediately sat down at the table to create a new drawing together with other friends. His new drawings have now been full of flowers, little black and a lot of green and red colours of Afghanistan.

Sabur’s brother health improved and soon they would be able to move on to Canada through UNHCR. Sabur is looking forward to it.

Educators at the Institute are happy that Sabur’s life will continue in a safe place. But they say they will surely miss this tender boy a lot.

A few refugee children arrive to the Institute every day.

“A large number of children, mostly the boys, stay in the shelter house a day or two, just to take a break, to take a bath and get some food and then move on to Western European countries,” said Kristina Ristic, Head for Foreign Children at the Institute.

Just some of them stayed for months, like Sabur has. Each of the boys came with their personal drama and trauma along the long journey. Sometimes they are in a state of visible depression, said psychologist in the Institute in Belgrade.

Between ten and fifteen refugee children are at the Institute every day. The Institute provides them with accommodation and food, but they need also all other things important to everyone, especially clothing and shoes. So, any help from individuals and non-governmental organizations are precious..

The Institute appreciates donations from Pomoc deci. Our organization provides urgent necessities. These are primarily hygienic items and clothes: jackets, sweatshirts, underwear, socks and shoes. Pomoc deci also provides professional psycho-social help and organises workshops for refugee children.

On June 15th, GlobalGiving.org will be holding a Bonus Day with $110,000 available in matching funds. There will also be two $1,000 Bonus Prizes that will be awarded to the projects with the highest number of donors and the most funds raised on Bonus Day. GlobalGiving.co.uk will be running a simultaneous Bonus Day with £10,000 available in matching funds. Please, consider helping us by donating for our project on June 15th because your donation on that day will bring us additional 50% from the GlobalGiving Matching funds and we will be able to help more children refugees on their way to safety!

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Organization Information

Pomoc deci

Location: Belgrade, Serbia - Serbia
Website:
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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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