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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
Olivera at the Scholarship Contract Signing
Olivera at the Scholarship Contract Signing

The temperatures in January 2017 went down to -17 Degrees on the Celzius scale (1.4 on Fahrenheit scale) during the nights. Little Olivera M, second grade pupil, had been absent from school for several days when the sad news reached her teacher: Olivera’s father suddenly died one night. When the teacher went to visit Olivera’s family, a day after the news had reached the school, the scene she found was heart-breaking. In the wider centre of Belgrade, the family lived in a makeshift cardboard “house”. She saw starved and half-frozen mother and three children. Since they had no wood to use for heating, father had been collecting garbage from the containers and putting it on fire in one “room”. On that particular night, he had nothing more to put on fire, so he asked all the children to get in the bed with their mother and he went to the front part of the “house”. He froze to death in his sleep. 

"Nobody deserves such a life,” were the first thoughts Olivera’s teacher Jelena had and then she went public with the story of the poor family. She immediately launched a campaign on social networks to help Olivera’s family. Her classmates immediately started collecting warm clothes, shoes and food, and ordinary citizens started donating money for emergency needs of the family.

Olivera's parents fled Kosovo on 1999. Her father Nebojsa had worked as a miner at Trepca coal mine for about 20 years before fleeing Kosovo. When they reached Serbia, he and his wife were in a refugee camp at first, and then they came to Belgrade, where Nebojsa found a job in a private company. Children were born. Olivera’s mother is deaf and could never get a job. They all lived on the father’s salary. When Nebojša lost his job, very difficult days started to roll on. Day after day, they barely managed to have enough food to feed the children and finally, Nebojsa lost his life trying to help the family stay slightly less cold on that freezing night in January.

We at Pomoc deci went to school, met Olivera, her sister and mother, talked to the teacher and with YOUR donations managed to secure one scholarship – for Olivera. The school secured free meals for all three children. A few weeks later, Olivera’s teacher Jelena received another phone call: a woman who had been a refugee herself was offering her flat to Olivera’s family for free use.

Four months later, Olivera, who is now ten years old, her elder sister Jovana (12) and brother Jovan (15), are finally all smiles. They look healthy and are dressed properly.They receive a small amount as family pension and the stipend for Olivera, from us which you made possible!

“When we moved into a new apartment, my Mom made us a cake!” says Olivera with the broadest possible smile on her face. And her sister Jovana jumps in: “You see, she has a little fat belly now, she eats all the time, she never stops eating!”.

“Olivera is good and loving, wonderful child who tries her best. She has bad hearing and that problem has prevented her from advancing as much as other students in the class, but she will soon finally get a hearing aid. Special education teacher will also help her. But there is a lot more to be done for this family to have a normal life”, says teacher Jelena.

Please, continue helping us in our efforts to help the most needy children from former refugees in Serbia. Every donation allows us to make a huge difference in the lives of these children. Sometimes YOUR donation literally saves a life!

Olivera, her sister and Mom receive the contract
Olivera, her sister and Mom receive the contract

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Predrag and Nenad in a new apartment
Predrag and Nenad in a new apartment

Predrag and Nenad are twin brothers in the fifth grade of elementary school. They were born in the Refugee Camp, just like their elder brother Zikica. Two elder sisters were only toddlers when their parents fled Kosovo in 1999. Not only did they leave behind everything they had ever had, but the father lost his leg in the war and the only solution for the family was to stay at the Refugee Camp. Eighteen long years they lived in one room – seven members of the family.

Last year, finally they moved to an apartment in the social housing area. “All the money from the social security we give to pay the bills, we can’t imagine losing this apartment over unpaid bills” says Zaklina, the mother of five children who eagerly accepts any odd job that she can find. She and her eldest daughter earn some extra money for food by cleaning other people’s houses. The second daughter is in the secondary school learning to become a hairdresser, whilst the eldest son is finishing the elementary school this May.

Thanks to YOUR donations, we provided text-books for all four children at school and free school meals for the twin brothers. But nothing brings broader smiles to their faces than their school bag that we gave them at the beginning of this school year. One bag for the two of them.

“We alternate carrying the bag – one day I carry it, and Nenad takes his books in a plastic bag, the other day he has it, and I carry a plastic bag with the books”, comments Predrag. “I’m so happy when my turn comes, this is the first bag I have ever had!”, says with the broadest possible smile Nenad.

Mother Zaklina tells us that it means so much that all her children that are going to school have text-books and that the twins have one secure cooked meal a day. “It’s a long wish list that I have for all the things that my children need and what would help, but it would mean so much if next school year they would have text-books and two bags, so that both of them leave the house smiling every day when they go to school”, she says glancing at them.

 

Please, help us continue supporting children like Predrag and Nenad!

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Sanja with her parents in front of the new house
Sanja with her parents in front of the new house

Sanja V. is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her parents and two elder brothers in a suburb of Kragujevac, a town in central Serbia. Every day she walks for several kilometres to school in the city. Sanja is in the seventh grade and she is a good pupil. She says that school is not easy, she finds mathematics to be hard, but her classmates always help her with math problems. On the other hand, she loves German and thinks that it is not difficult. She likes to study German more than English. Even though studying is hard work, Sanja stressed that she would like to continue her education when she finishes primary school.

 She spends most of her free time with her best girl friend Emina. They like to listen to music and Sanja also loves to sing. “She is so funny, it is hard to listen to her sing,“ said her elder brother Milos with a smile. Sanja is very skillful. She can make home-made bread, and she can make beautiful ornaments and decorations with pearls she creates herself.

Sanja's parents are refugees from Kosovo. They had to flee Orahovac town, in 2000, with two little boys. They came to Serbia penniless, because they had left all their possessions in Orahovac. Ivica, who is a mechanic, couldn't find a permanent job and steady salary to support his family. For a long time the whole family lived in one room that was assigned to them in so-called emergency accommodation. Later they moved to Kragujevac and for years they lived together with Sanja's grandparents in a numerous household. The only income was Ivica's social support. Then they decided to move out and started building their own house, room by room.

Sanja's parents began building their new house a few years ago. All the money they earn from seasonal jobs is spent on bricks and other building material necessary for the house. Sanja is the first in her family to have her own room. So, now, she has peace and quiet and she can study. Her parents, Mirjana and Ivica are striving to provide what their daughter needs.

All the members of Sanja's family are hardworking people with skillful hands. Her father, Ivica said that he never turned down any job, he does physical and construction works. Her mother, Mirjana travels throughout Serbia looking for seasonal agricultural jobs. She does jobs such as picking raspberries, potatoes, cucumbers, from spring to autumn, until the season ends. That is how they saved enough money for the education of their sons.

Milan has acquired a driver`s license so he is a driver. Milos is a mechanic and a hairdresser. They do not have steady jobs, but from time to time they manage to find work. They also love music and they can play musical instruments. When their parents are not at home, the two of them take care of the household; clean the house, cook meals and take care of their sister.

Sanja has been receiving a scholarship from Pomoc Deci since her fifth grade. Her parents appreciate the support very much, because this money secures the necessary things needed for her education and fills them with joy when they can see that Sanja will be able to get proper education. They wish and hope their sons will find jobs. They also hope they will be able to earn enough money and finish their family house someday.

We are just two weeks away from #GivingTuesday and we have some exciting news to share! The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has generously provided $500,000 in matching funds for #GivingTuesday!

There will be an unprecedented 50% matching for #GivingTuesday donations up to the first $1 million raised! This is the largest amount of matching funds GlobalGiving has ever had in one day in order to match more donations than ever before!

In addition to this huge matching opportunity, all new recurring donations made from #GivingTuesday through December 31st will be matched at 200% up to $100, on the fourth donation!

Please, consider donating during this period of time, so that we can help more refugee children in their effort to get education!

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Marija loves all the animals
Marija loves all the animals

A little house, looking more like a slum, one of many similar in the densely populated distant suburb of Belgrade city is the place where Marija S., an eight-year-old girl is growing up. In a small front yard, she spends most of the time of her Summer holiday, often playing and cuddling her three dogs. They were stray dogs which she took from the street and brought home to befriend.

“If she could have it her way, there would be a pack of dogs from all the neighbouring streets here getting their home. She is fond of all the animals, but little less of the cats because of scratching” said her mom Duska. Like no other child, in the Zoo, she even liked the snakes: “They are calm and good”, explained Marija.

At first sight, with her long, wild dark hair and three natural “highlights”, and a tiny body she looks like the Mogli’s best friend, whom she unwillingly had to leave round the corner after playing with animals. She is definitely an unusual child and a a big talker as well. She is full of cheerful stories, almost about everything which comes and goes in her young life.

Marija is very good at school, but some subjects are not that easy for her. She is fond of her class teacher who is full of understanding, willing to help her to overcome troubles with those less easy subjects. She is fond of classes where children spend more time drawing and talking. That was the reason she decided she wanted to change religious class for civic education classes next year when she starts the third grade. “In civic education, children play and talk, and don’t do too much writing like we did in religious classes. It was so boring”, explained Marija.

Marija also loves spending more time with her family, younger brother Dusan, who will start the first grade in September, her mom and dad. Her Dad is the one who “gets” hundred percent of her love, and for her mother, she deducts one percent because “Mom keeps saying you can’t do this and can’t do that all the time”, says this cute little girl.

Listening to the stories of irresistibly charming Marija, one gets the sense just of the bright side of her life. In reality, it is a life of huge poverty. This is the story of a poor family of two hairdressers, who get jobs every now and then, here and there. Since they came from Bosnia as refugee children during the nineties, they have been struggling to find a way to get the education, grow up and live as normal life as possible. They fell in love with each other, started a family, got two children and found themselves in a small slum-like house where they first lived with other four people of the extended family. The house is full of moisture all the time. They have never had enough money to make it a really dry and safe home. Barely do they have enough money for food and essential needs for their children, but with the scholarship for Marija, things are slightly better because at least, they can provide the children with the school necessities, clothes and shoes.

Pomoc deck is trying to keep helping Marija and other children like her.

Thanks to your donations we are able to provide scholarships for nine children in similar situation. Please, help us continue helping these children get the necessities. Every child deserves, at least, that.

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Vujadin Practising for the National Team
Vujadin Practising for the National Team

An excellent pupil, plays the violin, sings well, exercises taekwondo and plays American football. All of this successfully describes Vujadin. J., a fourteen-year-old boy. He is a gifted boy, but wants only one thing - to become a member of the Army. Vujadin wanted it as a little child, and has stayed determined.

This year in June he will graduate from elementary school in Kragujevac, a town in central Serbia. In the first days of May he went to Belgrade to take the exams and check the ability for admission to the Military High School. When the psychologist asked him what his reaction would be if he were rejected, he said: "Failure is not an option". When asked how come he is so self-confident, he simply explaines that it is his way of thinking.

Vujadin thought cartoons influenced his personality most.

"I think the cartoons are very important for children. They affected me a lot. I think it is important for the development of intelligence, it teaches you how to behave. One could learn about friendship, how to be brave and many other good things, explaines this young man.

Vujadin passed all the exams. When he heard the results, he took a mobile phone to spread a good news to all his friends immediately. And he also called one special person. Recently he fell in love with a beautiful girl, admitted Vujadin with a smile.

In September he is going to Belgrade to join his elder brother Strahinja who will also graduate from Military High School. Vujadin says he is looking forward to the new school, meeting new friends, learning some new martial arts, like judo and karate.

"I want to be in the Army, want to be among the best, but I hope no war will ever happen," says Vujadin.

He is a smart, open-minded boy, but very modest, too. It is his mom Branka who proudly speaks about her son’s success. He has been playing the violin at music school for six years now. As a very young boy, he started practicing taekwondo and has won numerous medals at national competitions. Vujadin has been playing American football for many years and he will join the national team soon. All the time he has been an excellent pupil, and has been awarded many times.

Vujadin's parents were refugees from Croatia, they fled when the war started. His mom Branka is not employed and she dedicated herself to the education of her boys. His father had not a steady job and was selling various goods in the local market in Kragujevac. Most of the time the familly was short of money and he decided to leave the town to find a better job.

Vujadin has been receiving a scholarship from Pomoc deci with the funds raised through GlobalGiving for the last three years. "I am grateful for every smile of my children, because it is precious, not to say for the financial support, which meant a lot to Vujadin's education and sport engagement. I’ve tried to help my boys develop their gifts and to be educated, to become self-confident as they become adults. They appreciate every help and I believe one day they will help some other children in need", says mom Branka.

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!

"Failure is not an option", says Vujadin
"Failure is not an option", says Vujadin

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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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