Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education

by Pomoc deci
Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education
Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education
Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education
Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education
Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education
Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education
Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education
Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education
Jovana in class
Jovana in class

Dear friend,

We hope you and your family, friends, and colleagues are doing well. 

We would like you to meet Jovana, our scholarship recipient. She is a recent high school graduate, whose parents were originally from Kosovo. Displaced during the war, they had settled in the Raca municipality. Along with Jovana, they also have another two children - a daughter and a son.

Jovana is a student at the Technical High School in Belgrade. As Belgrade is a one-hour’s car ride away, she has to live in a student residency, a building housing high school students who do not live in the city.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, like all of her peers in Serbia and beyond, Jovana’s last couple of months of high school were different than anyone could have imagined. As a state of emergency was declared, Jovana was forced to return back to her parent’s place as she could not remain in her student residence. Along with thousands of her peers throughout Serbia, Jovana’s classes were held remotely. Classes were recorded and aired on a streaming platform for all high school students, students would download assignments from the school portal, while her teachers would occasionally schedule oral exams over the phone. With university entrance exams coming up, remote learning was not ideal, but it was much better than the alternative - not having any classes at all. 

During our conversation, Jovana also reflected on her high school experience, indicating how grateful she was for being able to attend a high school in Belgrade. “There are no opportunities back home. There is only one high school, but it does not provide classes and the expertise the high school in Belgrade did.” With the help of the GlobalGiving community, the generosity of donors helped Jovana and her family pay for her dorm in the student residence, allowing her to continue her education beyond elementary school, helping her work on realizing her dream of studying mathematics. Without your support, her parents would never have been able to afford to send her to Belgrade.

Beyond high school, Jovana plans on attending the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Belgrade in the fall. You made this happen. Thank you.

We want to be able to continue to provide opportunities for children and youth like Jovana. To give them the opportunity to continue their education and make a life for themselves. Without a support system, children of displaced parents are unlikely to be able to break the cycle of poverty. They need us.

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Hi friend,

We would like you to meet Andreja, a young, 12-year old from Smederevo. Like any energetic pre-teen, Andreja has dreams and goals for himself.

When talking to his dad, he commented how interested his son was in the life around him. Every day, he would come home from school, run up to his parents and would proclaim: “I want to be a singer when I grow up!” or “I want to dance!” On Friday, when we spoke, his son’s latest career obsession was basketball.

In school, he tries very hard - and we are so proud of him! This year, he is in upper elementary school so his workload has increased. One of his new classes is ICT and he loves it! The class covered a lot since the beginning of the year, but definitely the favorite part of these classes for Andreja is that they get to learn how to use paint. He paints everything. From his favorite basketball player, to his family, to his friends and the solar system.

His home life is not easy, though. His parents are both internally displaced refugees who came from Kosovo to Smederevo with nothing to their name. They try to make do, but it’s hard. The family receives benefits from the Serbian government, however it’s often not enough.

This is how you’ve been helping the family over the years. Every day in school, Andreja gets a hot meal, which sustains him and allows him to study, apply himself, and work on achieving his dreams. For his parents, this support is invaluable as it allows them to focus on paying the bills, taking care of Andreja’s siblings, and helping Andreja with his asthma.

Majority of our donations come from individual donors who donate less than $50. This is why, March 23-27, we are inviting you to participate in GlobalGiving’s Little x Little campaign. For every donation under $50, GlobalGiving will match it at 50%. For every donation, your dollar will go further, allowing us to raise money and bring hot meals to children like Andreja.

The work that we do is entirely funded through donations and would not be possible without the philanthropic support of our community. We are counting on your support to help us surpass our goal and invest in our children's future.

Please consider donating and making a parent's day, which in turn will help their children. If you can't donate, consider sharing Andreja's story with your friends and starting a fundraiser. Don't forget to stay in touch with us, over Facebook or Instagram, we’d love to hear from you.

With love,

Pomoc deci team

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Hey friend,

How are you? With end of the year coming up, we understand that you are busy. We would like you to meet Milena. Thanks to your help, Milena is able to continue her education.

Milena's family is originally from Smederesvka Palanka, a village situated 78km from Belgrade. As there are no technical high schools near her she has to travel to the closest one, which is located in Belgrade. The only way for Milena to continue her education and achieve her dream of becoming a geodetic technician, is to stay at student residences in Belgrade, but her family unfortunately cannot afford that.

Her mother says that had it not been for the scholarship that they wouldn’t know what they would have done. “It would not have been imaginable for her to study in Belgrade, there was no way we could afford to pay for the boarding fees”

It’s tough being away from your family, Milena says, but the “ability and the opportunity to continue my education is invaluable. Last week in class, we started developing basic databases and in the spring, I will be going to the Museum of Science and Technology with my class. This sort of thing wouldn’t happen if I was in Smederevska Palanka. I probably would have gone to a regular high school, but then I wouldn’t be able to become a geodetic technician.” The technical high school provides specialized training, which you can’t get at a regular high school.

This is why we need your help. Over the years, we have been able to provide hot meals, school supplies and educational scholarships to over 100 children and youth.

Our long-term goal is for children and youth to complete as many levels of schooling as possible, and be in a position to become independent and successful members of society.

This Christmas, we need to ask you to help us. The work that we do is entirely dependent on donations from individual supporters like yourself. We want to be able to provide hot meals, school supplies and opportunities to children and youth like Milena.

What can you do?

  • Donate! If you set up a recurring donation, GlobalGiving will match it.
  • Ask your employer for a corporate gift card
  • Reach out to your network of friends, peers and colleagues and start a fundraiser. For every 5 people you know, those 5 people know another 5!

We also wanted to let you know that, as it is the season of giving, GlobalGiving will be rewarding organizations that get 30 individual donors to donate until the end of the year. So please, consider helping us and your donation will go even further. Every bit helps (more than you even realize) and we'll be forever grateful :)

Don’t forget to connect with us online (facebook, instagram or our website), we’d love to hear from you!

Warm regards,

Pomoc deci team

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Luka in his family home
Luka in his family home

We appreciate your continuous support in providing for displaced families.

Luka is a young boy from Vodice, a village near Smederevska Palanka, currently attending the 7th grade. He is one of the youngest kids in a household that includes four brothers and two sisters. His father is almost completely blind and due to his mother’s status as both a refugee and an internally displaced person, she is unable to obtain any type of paperwork to be able to work in Serbia. This makes it difficult for the parents to find work, which means Luka and his siblings often have to share small quantities of food just to get by (if they are able to get any food, at all)

Right now, Luka’s plans are to graduate from elementary school and would like to enroll in high school to further his education. He is active in his local soccer and swimming clubs and plans on joining the rifle and pistol club.

Luka’s education would not have been possible without the scholarship provided by YOU and for that we are immensely grateful. He is a smart kid, with good grades but without the scholarship, he likely would not have been able to receive an education which would greatly hinder his psychological development.

Thanks to your generous support, we are able to provide access to quality education for children as well as providing financial assistance to multiple families. Over the past year, we were able to provide eight full-ride scholarships and we would like to be able to continue to do so in the future. Please help us in continuing to provide quality education. 100% of your donation, which can be as little as 10€/$12, will be able to help out children to continue their education.

Don’t forget to connect with Pomoc Deci online through our website and facebook page. If you are unable to donate, please consider sharing the fundraiser on your own social media page.

Warm regards,

Pomoc Deci team

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Olivera with a Red Star sportsgirl before the trip
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!

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Organization Information

Pomoc deci

Location: Belgrade, Serbia - Serbia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @pomocdeci
Project Leader:
Ljiljana Vasic
Belgrade, Serbia
$105,218 raised of $150,000 goal
 
853 donations
$44,782 to go
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