Olivera with a Red Star sportsgirl before the trip
Two years ago, in the harshest winter of the decades, on a freezing night in January, Olivera’s father froze to death trying to make sure that his three young children and their mother survive the cold in one bed of a make-shift “house” in the woods at the outskirts of Belgrade, whilst he stayed on the other side of the door.
Almost frozen, hungry and desperate Olivera who was not even full ten years old child, her 14-year-old brother Jovan and 11-year-old sister Jovana helped their deaf mother get up in the morning and had no idea what to do next. With the huge help from Olivera’s class teacher, their sad story reached the press and us.
We learnt that Mom and Dad fled Kosovo in 1999, had to spend several years in a refugee camp and then moved to Belgrade where Olivera’s dad found a job. Three months prior to his tragic death, the company where he had worked closed down and they had no income, no money for food, firewood or anything else. And no resident documents since they had been from Kosovo.
In addition to all the other problems, this little girl has severe hearing problem, and till this tragedy, had never been able to get a hearing aid.
With your assistance, we bought some clothes and shoes for Olivera, and have been giving her a stipend ever since. In the meantime, they were offered free accommodation at a house of a woman who had been a refugee herself and reached out to help others when she could.
It took two and half years for Olivera to get a proper hearing aid, catch up with her peers, to deal with her loss and settle down. Last month, for the very first time, she gathered courage, enough money and agreed to participate in a school trip of several days. For the first time in her life, she slept without her siblings and mother, mixed with her peers from the same class and saw some other places than Belgrade.
“I was scared to be alone, but my friends were always with me. And my teacher, the best teacher ever, was there too!” – she happily describes what it felt like being away from her family. “We just received my stipend, my Mom asked me if I would like to go and my teacher assured me it would be a great trip. She also let me call my brother every day. And you know, just before we went on this trip, there were some sports people from my favourite ‘Red star’ sports club in school and they were also talking about travelling to play different matches in different places. They said that travelling was always fun. So, I decided to go on this trip with my class, and to travel like sportsmen do”, explained to us Olivera beaming with joy.
Thank you for enabling us to help children like her, to provide the needed funds which help them feel and have the simple little joys of childhood!
Please, help us continue supporting these children and bringing smiles to their faces!