Children
 Serbia
Project #14610

Give refugee children in Serbia hope for education

by Pomoc deci
Vetted
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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Natalija with her most treasured trophy
Natalija with her most treasured trophy

Natalija M., a thirteen year-old girl supported by a scholarship through GlobalGiving,  is a State Champion now! She owns a magnificent necklace of 20 medals won in karate competition and a trophy from the State Championship. As a karate blue-belt  holder, just a few days ago, she won the Gold Medal in Karate Championship of Serbia for girls. This medal is the most important one for her. Now she practices in hope of deserving a brown belt.
"My Coach says I'm already ready for the black belt. He wants me to become a member of the National Team and compete at the international competitions. I would’ve already had a black belt if I hadn’t stopped training at some point”, says Natalija. She started to practise karate in her early age, but she had to quit it, since her parents did not have money to pay for the practise.
"There were days when we had nothing to eat...," said Natalija's mother Marica with tears in her eyes.
Natalija is a pupil in the seventh grade of primary school. She is the youngest of four children of the family who fled from Djakovica in Kosovo in 1999. She was born in a collecitve centre for refugees in Raca, a small town in central Serbia. For twelve years of her life, one room in that camp was the home of the whole family. There she started her education, practicing karate and singing in a church choir. Tata Zoran proudly talks about his daughter’s gifts.
"Her Coach says that she is very talented, she is a good fighter. People in the church say her voice is the most beautiful one in a choir," said Zoran.
Last year, Natalija's parents got a small apartment in one of three social housing buildings built for refugee families in a suburb of Raca. "In this part of the town you can see a postman only once a week," explained Zoran. Although her new home is far away from the town, Natalija has no complaints. Living together with mom and dad, she and her elder sister finally have their own place for decent living.
Natalija has been receiving a scholarship from a sponsor supporting her through Pomoc deci project "Give Refugee Children in Serbia Hope for Education" on the GlobalGiving platform for two years now. "I have no words to say how much it means, this financial support, to Natalija. Thanks a lot!”, says her mom through tears.
Natalija is a modest, cheerful girl. She is grateful just to have the opportunity to practise karate. She has a lot of friends. Her best friend is in the same sport. They met each other at a local competition, and since then the two girls have become good friends. "I, also, have a good friend who is 19 now. She was a European karate champion. I would like to be like her someday", says this brave girl.
Pomoc deci is grateful to everyone who enables Natalija and other ten refugee children to get a scholarship, and a total of 34 other children who get some other type of support (free school snacks, free textbooks, clothes when needed or even a computer).
We warmly appreciate any of your donations.
Please donate whatever you can and be the one of us who are happy to help as many children fulfil their dreams as possible!

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Plana
Plana's huge smile and shining eyes say it all

Plana S. bought new boots and a backpack for school. In a life of a teenage girl it wouldn’t be worth mentioning, but in the case of this girl, some ordinary things are cause for great joy. And not just for her, but for her whole family. "Many, many thanks for a scholarship! Without that money I could not afford it. You cannot imagine how much it means to me! I am grateful to all the people who made it happen", says Plana.

Plana is a displaced person from Kosovo. She came to the Serbian town of Pozega as a three-month old baby. Her family fled from Klina, Kosovo in 1992. She lived in a refugee camp with her mother, father, older brother and twin sister more than 15 years. Her mother is a housewife and her father is a construction worker but without permanent employment. Life was not easy for her family.

Two years ago, when the camp was closed, they received a prefabricated house. Finally, Plana has got a home. But it was not the end of the family worries. Most of the time, the whole household income was what her father earned through temporary jobs.

At the end of the eighth grade of primary school she was frightened that it was the end of her education. She was fully aware of the family situation - her parents barely had enough money for everyday life.

The scholarship came at the right moment. Plana has been receiving scholarship for three years and thanks to that money she had the opportunity to continue her education. Thanks to the donations for our project “Give refugee Children in Serbia Hope for Education”, a scholarship which she won was more than the support. It marked the beginning of a new life for her.

Now, she is attending the second grade of high school. "I have been learning Spanish language at school, I love it a lot and I'd like to graduate to be a tourist guide," says Plana. So far she did not have much opportunity to travel. Sometime ago, she visited Belgrade for the first time when the school organized a visit to the Tourism Fair in the Serbian capital.

Pomoc deci is grateful to everyone who enabled this girl to get scholarship end to successfully embark upon the realization of her dreams. This year she was very happy with two ordinary things: a school bag and winter shoes. Plana says that she lacks words to express her appreciation. She thinks that "thank you very, very much," is not enough.

Plan S. is among six children who received the scholarship so far in the current school year. Thanks to your donations we have been able to provide school meals for three other children in October and November. Also, seven additional children received school books.

GlobalGiving Bonus Day: If you decide to help our project again by starting a recurring donation for at least four months, from December the 1st, your donation will be 100 percent increased by matching funds from GlobalGiving.

Dear Friends, on behalf of humble and diligent Plana S. and all other children Pomoc deci is grateful for your contributions and support. Even the smallest amount of money towards a scholarship is a golden ticket to a better life which they dream of. Please donate whatever you can and be the one of us who would be happy to help as more children as possible! 

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With Your donation, Stefan will get a free meal!
With Your donation, Stefan will get a free meal!

Dear Friends,


Thank you so much for your continuing support to the children from refugee and displaced families in Serbia! With your donations over the last three months, we have managed to secure three full scholarships for the most needy children, ten free meals for the full school year and 15 sets of the needed textbooks.


With a father almost completely blind who cannot work and mother who, as a refugee from Bosnia and displaced from Kosovo, still hasn’t managed to get all personal documents and citizenship sorted, and therefore cannot get a proper full-time job, Stefan and his four siblings frequently go to bed hungry. With your help, we have managed to secure a free meal for him and his elder brother and sister in the coming school year.


“I will be in a big school like my brothers and sister now, you know!”, proudly announces Stefan the moment we sat on the couch in one of the two rooms this family has. “And I will be a good pupil, I already learnt the letters from my brother”, he promises. Then he runs to the door and climbs up the door frame to show us how strong he is.


This family in Vodice, a village close to Smederevska Palanka, is one of seven families in which we will make sure all school children have a free meal at school. For all these children, this will frequently be the only cooked, warm meal in a day.


As little as $12 or €10 a month, will ensure more free school meals, please, consider signing up for a recurring donation and help us secure regular hot meals for the most needy children! This project of ours has also been receiving the support from Microsoft YouthSpark for the last year and every recurring donation has been matched by 100 percent. This way, we have managed to secure more free meals. Microsoft YouthSpark will be organising a Final YouthSpark Bonus Day on October 7th, 2015! We will keep you informed about the details and possibilities to make your donation go further.


GlobalGiving Bonus Day: If you decide to help our project again on September the 16th, your donation will be 30 percent increased by matching funds from GlobalGiving. Please, help us help more children!

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Organization Information

Pomoc deci

Location: Belgrade, Serbia - Serbia
Website: http:/​/​www.pomocdeci.org
Project Leader:
Ljiljana Vasic
Belgrade, Serbia
$30,692 raised of $50,000 goal
 
 
278 donations
$19,308 to go
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