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 Children  Serbia Project #14610

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
Natalija the Champion
Natalija the Champion

When we first met her, she was just a 10-year old girl who had been born in a Refugee Camp where her parents and elder brothers and sister had been sheltered after fleeing the wars in the Balkans. One of about thirty children whose only home was that old building with high ceilings, no central heating and hot water, where in each room a family of at least four to five people lived together for already almost fifteen years. The difference between Natalija and others was that her father had just had a severe heart attack and several bypasses and needed regular medication more expensive than all the social benefits that the family was receiving on monthly basis. And she had a sad look in her enormous black eyes whilst smiling at us.

We asked her what she liked doing in her spare time. She showed us some poems that she had been writing, said that she liked singing and was a member of a school choir. And then she mentioned that she liked karate. She had started practising karate in her fourth grade when the training sessions were held in her school. However, just before we came, the club changed the venue for practice and she had no money to pay the bus ticket to go to the practice any more.

It was difficult to look into those sad eyes of a girl who was fully aware that any morning she could wake up and see that her father was not there anymore. We promised to find a way to help her and her family because her two elder brothers had graduated from secondary school but had no steady job, her elder sister was just in the first grade of secondary school and her mother had to do all the work and care for Natalija’s father.

We appealed to all of you to help us support Natalija and her family as well as many other refugees in 21 Refugee Camps in Serbia.

Your very first donation to oour organisation for a child’s stipend we gave to Natalija. It almost completely went for her Dad’s medication. The little sum left, she used to start practicing karate again.

In May this year, five years after we first met her, now, fifteen-year-old Natalija was completing the first grade of secondary school and her family was finally out of the Refugee Camp, in one of "Social apartments" given to her family by the State. She was still practicing karate, having a black belt and preparing for the European Championship for Cadets and Juniors in Romania. Three weeks before the Championship, her worst childhood nightmare became a reality – her Dad died. And she had no money left to pay the expenses for going to the Championship. Her Karate Club could not support her. The State supports only seniors in individual sports.

Again, it was YOU who helped her go. She fought with all her heart. And one after the other her opponents were losing the fights with her. Natalija became a European Champion! Less than a month after losing her Dad. She dedicated the Gold Medal to him.

In a week’s time, Natalija is competing at the World championship in Moldova. You have made it possible – again, you helped us with your donations to pay for her to enter the competition.

Thank you for helping Natalija’s big black eyes shine with pride and joy through the sadness in her heart. Thank you for making us all feel proud and part of her success! YOU have created a Champion!

Please, help us continue helping these children!

Gold Medal
Gold Medal

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Happy sisters: graduating from their schools
Happy sisters: graduating from their schools

In 2013, with the very first of your donations, we made a decision to support Plana, then a 13-year old girl whose family fled Kosovo in 1999. She was a seventh grade pupil and her twin sisters were in the third grade. Neither her Mom or Dad had any regular income, but they were struggling to build some kind of a normal family life outside any Collective Centre for refugees.

Plana was a very good pupil, but in a small place where they lived, there was no secondary school and she thought that her parents could never afford transportation costs for her to go to the secondary school in a nearby town. Since we provided her with a scholarship, the horizons opened up for her and she did her best to prepare for the entrance exam and enrol into the secondary school she wanted to go to. The following four years have passed quickly...

Today, she is busy looking for a graduation party dress and preparing for the entrance exam at the Academy for Preschool Teachers! “There were times when I thought I would never be able to continue my education after the elementary school. There was just no money at home for that. My twin sisters were little, they needed a school snack much more than I needed a bus ticket to school. And there was no money for both.”

With her scholarship money, she managed to pay for the bus fare, textbooks, new boots in winter... and even to buy something small for her sisters. And she kept the very good average grade throughout the secondary school.

For the last three months, she has been going to the Preschool Teachers’ Academy every weekend to prepare better for the entrance exams, determined to give her best and get accepted there. At the same time, she is helping her younger sisters Isidora and Teodora prepare for the final exam at their elementary school, choose their “little prom” dresses and advise them on the choice of the secondary school they could enrol in autumn.

Her mother finally got a steady, regular job a couple of months ago, so in addition to Plana's scholarship, they have one more regular source of money in the house every month. Her father is still working as a construction worker on irregular basis, and although they cannot count on any regular salary coming from his work, he is a very hard-working man, so employers tend to call him back whenever there is an opportunity and need for extra pair of hands.

“You know, all my peers in the fourth grade of the secondary school will have a graduation excursion to Greece, so I am also picking the raspberries at weekends to earn money to go with them. I think I will have enough money by the end of the month. And I have saved some money from the scholarship, so I could pay for the trip. No, I don’t need any money there, maybe just to buy a little something for my sisters as a souvenir, but just to go there and swim in the sea will be the most wonderful thing in the world!” – says this now almost adult girl with a broadest smile possible.

“I am so proud of her and her sisters”, says her Mom. “And you know, all her ambition and drive to do her best in everything she does have been born the day you called and said that you would help her with the scholarship. Its like she started believing that if she gives her best, the skies will open up and the doors will open up for her. This is what she has been telling her sisters all the time too – give everything you do your best and the help will come from somewhere when you need it” - tells us her Mom.

Please, help us continue supporting these children, enabling them to get education and become accomplished young adults. On June the 20th, the World Refugee Day, GlobalGiving Foundation will organise a Bonus Day when your donations will be matched 100% as long as the matching funds last. We are counting on your help to be able to bring happiness and enable success of these children. We would like to provide at least ten scholarships to the children of the refugee and displaced people in Serbia next school year. Help us achieve this goal!

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Anastasija's Valentine Card for You
Anastasija's Valentine Card for You

Anastasija A. was born in a refugee camp. She was the youngest of four children in a family that used to have a decent secure life and jobs before the war and bombing...

For the first seven years, the only world she knew of was one long and narrow room without windows in a refugee camp where she, her two brothers, mom and dad lived. All the others in the camp were much older, so her best friend was her only toy -  a white stuffed teddy bear. Her father was desperately looking for any kind of job, but with all the pressure and worries, sometimes he would drink up the daily fee he had earned doing some physical work. Her mother could not work since taking Anastasija to kindergarten would cost more than she could have earned in a small town of Raca Kragujevacka.

With your support, we could offer a scholarship to this girl so she could get new clothes, shoes and school bag when she enrolled into the first grade.

In the meantime, the family got support from the State and moved out of the refugee camp into a small village nearby. Today, Anastasija is a happy four-grade pupil who wanted to send you all a Valentine Card. She wrote it and asked her mom to send it to us by post so that we can give it to you.

“Thank you for providing me with money to buy clothes, shoes and food. I hope you will continue helping me. I am happy and am learning, I love all the subjects in the fourth grade. I and my family send you the kindest regards. Thank you for everything and I love you so much.”  - Anastasija wrote on the card above the heart and the flowers.

Please, help us continue supporting these children in getting the education, staying in school and preparing for a productive life!

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Jovana with her little brother
Jovana with her little brother

Jovana, is a 16-year old girl from Raca, a small town near Kragujevac in central Serbia. She was born in a collective centre for refugees and displaced people from Kosovo two years after her parents had fled Kosovo.. For her first 13 years of life, one room in the Centre was her only home which she shared with her parents, younger sister and a little brother. The family was granted an apartment in the social housing complex when Jovana turned 14. She was  absolutely delighted to have the privacy of her own room for the first time in her life, to have bathroom only used by her family. But the happiness was only too short lived. Her parents had no steady jobs, only feeding the whole family and educating two elder children at elementary school  was more than they could earn for. With your support, we could provide the girls with textbooks only. When Jovana was in the seventh grade, she also won our prize for the best pupil among the children of the refugees and displaced people. And as extremely good pupil as she was, there was no hope for her to continue her education at secondary school, she would have to have money to travel and stay at a dormitory in another town if she wanted to go to the secondary school which could give her diploma good enough to be able to find a steady job quickly after graduation.

With your support, we could offer the scholarship to Jovana and with that money she could pay for the food and accommodation at the Secondary School for Postal and Communication Technicians in Belgrade. She had only excellent grades in the first year of the new school, but after school, she found it difficult to be alone in a totally different and big city.

And this year, in September, a new room-mate arrived – Andjela, a girl from a small town Krupanj. Andjela had her own sad story that she used to cover with a broad smile. Her family lost everything in the floods that hit Serbia three years ago. She and her sister were also excellent pupils, but with little hope to continue their education. With your support for another project which we have on GlobalGiving, Andjela has also been supported by the scholarship.

It took just a couple of days for two girls, who had never met before, to realise that they are both going to the same school, and are both there only because they are supported through the scholarships which you have enabled with your donations, although through different projects.

They are best friends now. The fact that they both receive our scholarships brought them even closer to each other. Jovana has even started going to the creative writing afterschool classes and has started an additional arts related course, whilst her friend Andjela has been attending acting afterschool classes. They fight home sickness together, and exchange stories about their siblings when they return from home visits.

Please, keep helping us help these children. In the coming End-of-the-year Campaign, which starts from November 28th, we are trying to raise enough funds to help these children stay at school and help their families educate other siblings. Our aim is to raise 5,000 USD through the campaign. Your assistance in both donating and spreading the word about our efforts to your friends will be of significant help!

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It takes so little to bring smiles on their faces
It takes so little to bring smiles on their faces

Violeta A. was just a girl when her family fled from Kosovo in 1999. They were put in the Refugee camp in Raca and she grew up in a 9 square metre cubicle sharing it with her parents and a sister, sharing a bathroom with other 23 families. The first chance to get independent and move out from the camp she took and after eight years in the camp she was finally living in a rented, but separate small apartment. In this apartment her three children – Stanomir, Filip and Kristina are growing up. Stanomir completed the elementary school and enrolled into secondary vocational school for auto mechanics. Filip, a two-year younger brother was going to the sixth grade and little Kristina was a toddler when Violeta lost her job and had only social benefit as a regular income.

She knocked on every door, asked for any job in fear of becoming once again dependent and homeless, only this time with three children. She asked us to help in any way. With your help, we provided textbooks for Stanomir and Filip. When Kristina started her education, we provided her with textbooks and free school snack.

Today, Stanomir is in his last year of secondary school and can’t wait to start earning money and supporting his family. Filip is in his last year of the elementary school and has big plans. He has a great talent for singing and has already won many children’s competitions. Last year he was a semi-finalist in the national singing competition for children up to 15 years of age. They need our support this year so that Stanomir can graduate and be ready for the job, and Filip to complete the elementary school and continue his education. Kristina is starting the fifth grade when many new subjects are introduced, more textbooks are needed and, as she has grown a lot during the Summer, new clothes and shoes are a must for her to go to school.

Please, help us continue supporting these children, so that they never learn what it looks like losing a home and being homeless.

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Organization Information

Pomoc deci

Location: Belgrade, Serbia - Serbia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @pomocdeci
Project Leader:
Ljiljana Vasic
Belgrade, Serbia
$88,847 raised of $99,000 goal
 
625 donations
$10,153 to go
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