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!
Working together to bring smiles in a refugee camp
Working together to bring smiles in a refugee camp

It has been seven years since a huge wave of refugees from Middle East, bringing over a million people to Serbia in their efforts to reach the European Union countries. Currently more than 5,000 Middle East migrants are still in Serbia. More than 1,500 children are growing up in several refugee camps, dreaming of a day when their families would be reunited and settled for good in one place.

More than 500 of migrant children have been born in Serbia during this seven-year long waiting time for the migrant families to somehow reach a country where they could find relatives, get a job and a place to raise their children.

With your help, we have been helping the migrant children in any way we can. We have been organising regular psycho-social support, weekly workshops for children and their mothers mainly, have been providing the basic necessities for the new-born ones and all of this has been greatly appreciated. Sameera from Syria has started volunteering with our Maja in the Vranje Refugee camp: “I had to do something and not just sit, wait and watch my children grow in one room with us grown-ups. And I felt so grateful for Maja’s efforts to see how we are, help if we need something and for broad smile whenever any of our children approach her. At one point, I just had to reach out and ask if I could help her in any way and “repay” for this human, warm, efficient and calm help that we have been constantly having. She told me that she would need to ask her organisation if this would be OK. I feared that the organisation would reject my offer for any reason. She came back a week later with the broadest smile you can imagine and told me that Pomoc deci, her organisation not only would allow me to help, but was grateful for my offer. In two years, this was the first time I really felt as a useful human being who can be productive for the first time”.

She immediately adds: “Now, we organise the activities together, I help with translations for the newcomers, we agree on what we will be doing next time she comes and then I make sure that all the children and as many mothers as possible, join us, so that we can all forget about our situation for a short while and be just happy children and parents playing and creating new things together”.

Please, help us continue supporting these families and children, help us make them feel good even if it is only for a few hours a week. It is a glimpse of hope for them that someday, they will be able to return to normal life and enjoy their family time together in a way we at home do. That they will be able to put all this trauma behind them and continue their lives.

On July the 20th, it is a July Bonus Day designed to celebrate high-donation donors and help GlobalGiving partners move smaller-dollar donors up to new giving heights. Accordingly, only donations of $100 USD and up will count on Bonus Day and, the higher the donation, the higher the match! And higher the amount we raise, the more smiles on the faces of Middle East migrant children in Serbia we will jointly bring!

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Whole families ask for advice
Whole families ask for advice

Suffering and insecurity for many Middle East migrants who took their personal belongings and with their children left their homelands is entering a seventh year. Whilst some families have managed to stick together and get through different borders with all their children, some are still only hoping to have all children and the whole family in one place – whatever the place may be.

You have been helping us support these children and their families all these years. We have been organising workshops and psycho-social support for children and their mothers, have been helping children enter the education system in Serbia to at least minimise the loss of time and education whilst growing up, but we have also been organising different training sessions for the parents.

One of the training sessions they are always interested in and the topic for which they always have many questions is prevention of trafficking. It is difficult to even imagine how many false promises for crossing borders, false job offers in different countries these families get. And they do not always know how to protect themselves and their loved ones from believing in thee scams.

Both mothers and fathers eagerly come to each of these training sessions, they ask all sorts of questions – from how to check and verify if any proposal is valid, who they could turn to for help, how to talk to their, sometimes, already teenage children to explain to them the danger of accepting too good to be true promises…

It is during these trainings that we learn how much more difficult their lives are than what we could assume, we build the rapport and their trust, we hear what bothers them most and get the ideas how and with what we can help them or their children.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to keep at least some dignity of these people, to provide their children with at least some joy and laughter to make days more bearable, to buy them a new sweater or shoes.

COVID has made life even more difficult for them, has reduced even those few opportunities for their children to meet other children and go to school. That is why your donations which enable us to at least talk to them and take what we can to them mean even more.

We know that these years have been difficult for us all but your donation will help us make sure that the children and families who have nothing and no hope to restore their lives any time soon, at least learn who they can turn to for help, advise and understanding.

Please, click on DONATE button!

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Little oasis of stability for Selene and Sami
Little oasis of stability for Selene and Sami

When little Iranian girl Selene was born in early 2019 in the Refugee Camp in Bujanovac in south Serbia, her, then, five-year-old brother Sami had already been at that Refugee Camp for a year and a half. And prior to that he had had the experience in the camps in two other countries.

Sasaninejad, their mother, was locally called Rosa by our local volunteers and was always them and other Middle East migrants settle.

As we were working with the families in this camp and knew the situation, we helped immediately with a humanitarian package for the new born Selene. Our providers of the psycho-social assistance have been celebrating Selene’s first and second birthday with her family and other migrants at the camp. As Selena is growing, she has started speaking some words in her language, in Serbian and English and Sami, her brother, has started going to school, has learnt both English and Serbian, has even learnt to work on computers during the online tutoring last school year. In the meantime, the family was moved to another camp, was called for the interview to legally enter Hungary on their way to Germany, but were refused the pass due to high number of COVID-19 related cases in Hungary at the time, were returned back to the first camp and now, have been moved to the third Camp.

Your donations enabled us to ease their transitions by keeping Selene’s and Sami’s daily schedule familiar. Used to workshops, language courses and regular play times with other children and our staff, not only Selene, but Sami and their mother have adapted to the new environments in relatively short time. Sasaninejad started also helping us and other migrants, assisting us in organising games for children, cooking classes for mothers, in making contacts with newly arrived migrants…

Now, they have to move to yet another camp again since the one where they are now will be temporarily closed for the renovation works. Little Selene and Sami have to leave their friends again, get into an unknown once again. Their mother is sad, worried for the future of her children and just wants to settle somewhere: “They don’t have home, they have never had any normal life. I don’t know what to do any more. If we would be denied entry to Hungary again, I would even contemplate going back to Iran. We can’t keep moving from one refugee camp to another.”

These little children and their families need our help. They need all the psycho-social support they can get. We need your support to provide at least this support to them. To help Selene and Sami adapt to all these camps, new people constantly in their lives, new uncertainties, to get through all the things they cannot understand and grow with as little trauma as possible.

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Dear friend,

Winter is a magical time. Over the past three months, children enjoyed a series of winter-themed activities with our psycho-social activities coordinator. These activities are meant to engage and stimulate children, get them to relax and spend time with peers their own age, something that is so very vital when their lives have been uprooted and not much of their future is secure.

This year, faced with the ongoing risk of COVID-19, children worked outside as much as the weather allowed them to do so. When not able to, we organized for them activities where they could be around their friends, while working on their own. 

One of these activities was the now annual tradition of making cards to celebrate Serbian New Year for residents of local nursing homes. As the pandemic did not allow them to go inside and give the cards in-person, they could only bring them to the front door of the nursing home. In exchange, children get a small present from the elderly – a cookie, a card, and a toy.

One of the young girls that participated in the tradition said that she’s happy to make cards for them as isolation can be lonely and it is always nice to do something nice for others. The kids did not know they would be getting a present in return, and their smiles and excitement were blinding! 

Truly a lovely celebration during a difficult time.

We hope this small update has brightened your day wherever you are. If you did not know, GlobalGiving’s recurring donation match has been extended into 2021. If you make a recurring donation today and keep it for four months, your first donation (up to $200) will be matched at 100%.

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Despite the pandemic, refugee centers have been welcoming new families and bidding adieu to the ones leaving the southern Serbian region. One of the difficulties of being in a refugee camp during a pandemic is the lack of proper socialization. Cooped up inside, with limited forms of social interaction, makes it, especially for children to thrive. 

At a time when it becomes difficult to add exercise to their daily routine, it is important to take advantage of warm and sunny days in a time where those days are scarce. So, on one of the last warm and sunny days of the year, our psycho-social support coordinator took a group of children to hula hoop. Benefits of hula hooping are immense, but above all, they are a fun activity that can be done in a group or with children on their own, all the while respecting social distancing measures. The activity provides children with an opportunity to, through a game, develop and boost their motor skills and coordination. At the end of the day, it proved to be a good activity for children to get to know one another. There is a constant change of those living in refugee centers so it sometimes becomes difficult for children to make friends or get to know their potential friends.

One of the boys who was part of the workshop says that "the activity was fun and it allowed everyone to make friends". Socializing is an important part of children's well-being and it is now, more than ever, necessary for children to take part in such activities.

We want to be able to continue organizing activities such as these for young children to help them and keep their mind off the stresses of being a refugee in a foreign, often temporary country. 

The work that we do is entirely dependent on the support from people reading these reports. The bulk of our income comes from GivingTuesday. This year on December 1, we invite you to help our work and mission to help children in Serbia and are asking you to make a donation. No matter how small, GlobalGiving is committed to helping us in our goal and will be donating a portion of the bonus prize to each organization. The more donations we get on December 1, the higher our bonus prize will be!

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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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