Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia

by Pomoc deci
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia
Igor and Ivona on a rare trip to the nearby town
Igor and Ivona on a rare trip to the nearby town

Three years ago, Igor was a happy seven-year old first-grader living with his baby sister Ivona, mom and dad in a little village Crnce close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Drina river, beautiful and calm was running through the centre of the village, among the houses scattered on two sides of the hills. And then, overnight, the bridges, roads and houses – all were gone when the river flooded the whole area.

That night, Igor lost his home, but much worse, he also lost his father. His mother becme a widow and a single parent with two young children, with no work, no house and no income.

Today, he is in the third grade of a local elementary school trying his best to have good grades and be a good example for his little sister who will start her education next September. It is tough for him. There are no other houses with children near his house, the only friends and peers are about ten other children who go to the same elementary school in another village. To reach his school, he has to walk three kilometers every day. And the same distance back home. Igor is ambitious, wants to have only excellent results, but admits: “English language is too difficult and no one here knows it, so I can’t ask anyone to help me”. His mother confirms it and feels sorry that she can’t help him either with this subject.

Dragana, his mother, only recently has managed to get a steady job, but works in shifts, at the border customs office, so Igor's grandparents take care of him and his sister when she is at work. With only one meager income for the whole family, the scholarship that Igor was awarded thanks to YOUR donations, makes sure that he can get a new pair of shoes when the long walks to school and back take their toll on the old ones. “Every penny counts”, says Igor’s mother and adds: “I need to save now to be able to buy text-books and all other needed things for two pupils in September.

Please, continue helping us help children like Igor and Ivona!

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Andjela with her Mom at a weekend break at home
Andjela with her Mom at a weekend break at home

Andjela P., a fifteen-year-old girl, has completed her primary school education with excellent grades. This September she left her hometown for the first time to continue her education in Belgrade. She enrolled into a vocational school for postal and technical communications. She plans to start work as soon as she graduates from vocational school.

“It was not easy for me when I arrived in Belgrade. A big new city, new conditions and, of course, the hardest part was to start a new school in a proper way. There are lots of subjects which are not easy. But now it's better. I managed to get organized. I have not seen much of Belgrade, only Kalemegdan. I have a lot to learn so I do not have much free time,” said Andjela about the beginning of her new life in the Serbian capital.

Andjela, like other children from Krupanj were very lucky to live in one of the most picturesque towns in western Serbia. Krupanj is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery: a lovely green river, breathtaking hills covered with green meadows, woods and a rich forest. However one night two years ago heavy rains poured down onto the town, the river became a dangerous force which undermined the hills and many houses disappeared in seconds. The catastrophic flood almost destroyed the whole town and the disaster affected the lives of many people. Andjela`s carefree childhood was abruptly interrupted because everything her family had vanished that awful night.

During the flood she was trapped with her sister and parents in the remains of their house which was situated on a hill in the Kostajnik village. The water was coming in very fast. Fortunately, they were all rescued, but fear of that terrible night still haunts the entire family. 

After the flood Andjela’s parents worked very hard on their farm. Every day, she walked for three kilometers to school in the nearby town Stolice. She didn`t complain and it was not difficult because she enjoyed learning. So, Andjela was an excellent student.  

Andjela`s family lost all their possessions in the flood. They had nothing. Her parents lost their jobs and they were left with no income. Pomoc Deci was able to provide a scholarship for Andjela.

“At the time it was huge support for me, to continue learning”, said this diligent girl.

Nowadays life in Krupanj is slowly returning to normal. Thanks to international aid, roads, hospitals and schools have been rebuilt and repaired. Last year Andjela's family was granted a prefabricated house, thanks to UNDP donations. Three generations are now living in the new house. Until recently, her grandfather’s pension was the only income in their household. Luckily, Andjela`s mother, Zeljka has found a job and now works in a newly opened denim factory. Her father does not have a permanent job yet and he mostly does farm work. However, without the scholarship that Andjela has been receiving thanks to your donations, she would not have been able to move to Belgrade and continue her education.

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!

So, please, consider donating for our project during this time and help us change more lives of the children who suffered so much in the terrible floods in the Balkans!

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Petar, picking blackberries to help the family
Petar, picking blackberries to help the family

At the foot of the mountain Cer lays a little town Krupanj. At summer, it is surrounded with rows of green pine and fir trees. Lush nature hides the remains of the huge damage caused by the unprecedented floods that nearly completely destroyed this little town. Two years ago, within several hours, many families were left without anything, without houses and everything they had owned. The family of Petar M., a thirteen-year-old boy was one them. The house, cattle, and everything they had ever had vanished in just few minutes.Part of Petar’s and his one-year-younger brother Aleksandar’s carefree childhood life the flood took forever, too.

This time, we have met Petar in the centre of Krupanj. Young highlander stopped picking blackberries in the hills and came down from the mountain village Krzava to take us to his newly built home, some thirty kilometres up into the hills. He reached out his black coloured palm and shook hands warmly. Picking blackberries, which is his everyday job during the summer holidays, deep coloured his hand’s skin.

While we were driving along a narrow gravel road to the top of the hill, to the village, we saw people rebuilding a small bridge and local roads. Petar recalled how terribly scared he was. He told us how he ran outside to help his mom when the rain started. He was soaked in a split second and then he started shivering and soon he was down with high fever. A huge downpour made a small river Krzava swell, just in front of their home. The water undermined the hill and house disappeared in a matter of minutes in a big land-slide. Nothing could be saved. With his grandmother, mom and younger brother, Petar had to run to the top of the hill to the neighbours. They could only save their lives at that point.

Roads, houses and bridges are slowly being restored in Krupanj now, thanks to the large international aid. Petar's parents started building a new house. They received sheep, pigs and chicken through donations, then rented the land to plant raspberries and blackberries. It was the new beginning for this hardworking family.

Petar's father works as carpenter in Belgrade, 150 kilometres away from home. He only gets home on weekends. Patar’s mother has only recently started working at a small factory for sewing denim. It is Petar’s grandmother who takes care of the house. So the hard work in the fields has become Petar’s responsibility. His one year younger brother Aleksandar is helping him. During the day Petar is mainly picking raspberries and blackberries. In the late afternoon, he has to take care of the cattle. With his faithful little dog he takes sheep in for the night.

“When I have free time I love to play football with my friends. I watch TV a bit at night, but soon I fall asleep”, says Petar.

Both Petar and his younger brother are excellent pupils. Next month he will start the eighth grade (last year of the elementary school). Afterwards he will continue his education, but he is not sure which secondary school he will enrol. “I just would not like to be far from home, because then, I could not help,” firmly says this diligent boy.

"Petar is attached very much stickled to the family and very industrious boy, the best blackberry picker in the family. He could be stubborn sometimes, because he thinks he knows how to pick the fruits best”, says his mother Snezana with a warm smile. "There is a lot of work to do in and outside the house, but for the boys the school is most important. They need to be educated, even if they choose to stay home and deal with agriculture," stresses Snezana.

In this modest family every penny is valued. The try to make savings to rebuild the household. They also want to save enough money to afford their children proper education. They appreciate very much the scholarship they received from Pomoc deci. It is spent for Petar’s books and other things needed for his education. Petar is very careful with the books because they have to remain in good shape for his younger brother.

Thanks to your generous donations, Pomoc deci has been providing financial support for 18 children whose families lost their properties after catastrophic flooding in Krupanj. They are all excellent pupils and this assistance is of huge help in their efforts to overcome trauma and losses, to start all over again and rebuild their lives.

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Ivana proudly shows a notebook of her drawings
Ivana proudly shows a notebook of her drawings

Ivana Dj., now an eleven year old girl, was born with a heart defect. She realized quickly that she is different and that she cannot do all that other children can. She does not have a carefree childhood. She must rest often and must not jump or run with their friends. She does not have a cell phone or a computer. When she comes home from school, she likes to draw and read. Tom Sawyer is her favorite hero, because he is a mischief-maker.

Ivana is a single child. She never met her father because he left the family when she was a baby. She lives with her sick mother and sick grandfather in a one-bedroom apartment in a Belgrade suburb, which was granted to them by the municipal authorities as temporary emergency accommodation. Ivana’s mother, Jelena (35), a traffic technician, has not been able to work for the past few years. Due to a serious illness, she has undergone several operations lately. Unfortunately, the flood which almost destroyed the Belgrade municipality of Obrenovac two years ago, also killed one member of their family.

"The day when the members of Pomoc deci came to visit us and brought a lot of food, they also brought great joy into our lives. There were days when we really did not have anything to eat. I have no words to express my gratitude for the scholarship, which means a lot to my Ivana“, Jelena says.

Ivana is a tiny little girl, but seems a tough one. She never said a word of complaint. Since last year, with the funds raised through GlobalGiving, Pomoc deci has been providing her with a scholarship. It covers the expense of her basic school books and supplies. Last year she completed fourth grade with the highest honors. This year, Ivana excelled in school again – she won the second place in the municipal competition in biology.

"Unfortunately, she was prevented from participating in the city competition due to an illness. She cried a lot because of that”, her mother says.

"I love nature. I have a great biology teacher. She is doing her best to help us. She gave me many biology books and has promised to help me prepare for the next competition,“ Ivana explains.

She likes to spend her free time walking in a nearby park with her best friend Tamara. But when she is at home she loves to draw. She happily shows her notebooks filled with her artworks.

When asked what her wishes are for the future, Ivana suddenly fell silent. And then, as if she grew up in an instant, she solemnly said: "I wish I had a computer. I'd like to have my own room too."

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!

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Nemanja and his cat Cicmil
Nemanja and his cat Cicmil

For several years, a school report card of Nemanja D. has been full with all the excellent grades, but one. There is just one subject with "only" a "very good" grade. It is the grade for the fine arts subject. "I cannot draw," briefly says Nemanja. He is in the grade now and will graduate from the primary school in Krupanj in May this year.

“He is one of only four pupils with excellent grades in the class of 23 pupils”, says proudly his mom Ljilja.

Nemanja is a modest boy, a bit shy, doesn’t talk much. He doesn’t have many wishes, just to have a nice mobile phone. He would like to continue his education at high school. Maths and physics are his favorite subjects. Just like his sister Aleksandra, who is a first-year University student of Mathematics.

When we went to Krupanj last time, a week ago, Nemanja was on school holidays. Sometimes, he goes to visit his best friend in the neighborhood. When he stays at home, his cat Cicmil is a good company. He wants to cuddle it all the time.

Krupanj is a small town in Serbia, which almost vanished after the unprecedented flood a year and half ago. Many families lost all they owned. A huge downpour made a small river swell, the water undermined the hill and many houses disappeared in a matter of minutes in a big land-slide. Part of the carefree child-life the flood that destroyed nearly the entire town took forever. The night of the huge disaster changed so many lives.

Only a narrow road divided Nemanja’s family house from the river banks. Heavy rain was falling the whole day, and after midnight a terrible bang woke them up. They remember how huge amounts of water started pouring over the river banks. The water climbed quickly up the house walls. Nemanja’s mom and grandmother say it was a nightmare. They still speak about it with a quivering voice. Their eyes are filled with tears, and they just hope it never happens again. Nemanja cannot speak about the flood. His grandmother tells us he was so frightened that he was afraid to get out of the bed for a long time after. Fear of floods has not disappeared in this family. 

“My husband is a policeman, unfortunately he was on duty that night. Children freaked out. Many animals were drowning in the courtyard. I was out of my mind. At that moment I didn’t know what to do first. More than a month we were just cleaning the mess. The whole street disappeared and we had to climb over the hill to go to the town for necessary food", said Lilja.

Nowadays life in Krupanj slowly returns to normal. Thanks to the international aid and donations, the roads have been rebuilt, a hospital and schools repaired. But many residents of Krupanj still suffer. In a small town like Krupanj there is no industry and people mostly work in the fields. Nemanja’s family almost repaired the house, but they lost the land where they had cultivated raspberries.

"We all used to work in raspberry fields, Aleksandra and Nemanja, too. We earned money by selling raspberries. It was our savings for the children’s education. I work as a saleswoman in a local shop. Our salaries are small and sufficient just for the necessary things in everyday life," explained Ljilja.

Speaking about his work in the raspberrys fields, Nemanja says it was not difficult. He enjoyed it. "I loved picking the raspberries," he says with a smile.

Nemanja received a scholarship this scool year from the Pomoc deci for the first time. "Your scholarship came at the right time, because the end of the primary school is near and he wants to be prepared for high school. That money means a lot to our family, first of all, as a great support for Nemanja’s further education. We are grateful. Many, many thanks," stresses Ljilja.

Pomoc deci is grateful to everyone who has generously donated to the Support for Children in Flooded Areas of Serbia proejct.

We appreciate any contribution and support. Thanks to your donations we have been able to provide school meals, school books, and scholarships for ten young boys and girls. All of us are happy to help them go forward and be successful in their education.

Please donate whatever you can and be the one of us who are happy to help as many children as possible!

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Organization Information

Pomoc deci

Location: Belgrade, Serbia - Serbia
Website:
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Twitter: @pomocdeci
Project Leader:
Ljiljana Vasic
Belgrade, Serbia
$71,228 raised of $90,000 goal
 
460 donations
$18,772 to go
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