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
Happy start of a new School year with new books
Happy start of a new School year with new books

Consequences of the devastating floods in Krupanj three years ago are still visible – a lot less on the buildings and roads, but on the livelihoods of the people they are huge. In a place where no industry exists anymore and the main source of income for the families is berry picking and farming, this year’s heat waves and temperatures of over 40 degrees over the last several months, took a heavy toll. A total damage on the individual agriculture from the heat waves this year is estimated at over 500 billion USD by the State. On families living in and around Krupanj, this has been a devastating season.

Nemanja, Petar, Andjela, and all the other 35 children that we have been supporting with your help, once again have been put under pressure of how to continue their education.

“Please, could you tell me if there would be any opportunity for your help in at least some of the most expensive textbooks for the next school year? I know that you can’t help us all, but, please, even one book will help! My mom is crying because, as it looks, my elder sister will have to stop going to her school in town next year because we cannot pay for her transport and books and other stuff. If you could help with some of my books, maybe it could save the money for her transport so that she can continue going to school too” – reads a message on our Facebook page from Andjela, now 14 years of age, the girl we supported with the textbooks last school year. Her sister Milica will be in the third year of the Secondary vocational school in Loznica, a nearby town. Provided, the family could afford it.

Thanks to your support, we could answer Andjela that we would secure the whole set of her textbooks as well as a scholarship for her sister for the next school year.

And we have managed to help other 19 children who are travelling to their school with scholarships for the coming school year. We have ordered textbook sets for a total of 15 children who are at elementary school in Krupanj.

“Please, please, tell these people that both my sister and I are sooo happy that we can both keep going to school next year! Tell them that we will surely be excellent students again! And, please, please, thank them on my mom’s behalf, too!” – answered Andjela when we replied that you have helped us secure the funds to keep them both at school.

Please, help us continue helping these children. With every year we manage to help them stay in school, these children and youth will gain more skills and knowledge and this poor area will have more chances of recovery and rebuilding itself.

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Four little sisters living on one scholarship
Four little sisters living on one scholarship

Four little sisters from the same family live up in the hills of the mountain Cer, in a village Krzava. The closest urban place is a small town Krupanj in south-western part of Serbia. Three of them go to school, and the youngest is only five years old. Each morning three girls travel by bus to school in Krupanj. One of them is in the second grade, the other sister is in fourth, and oldest one Bojana is in the sixth grade. All three are excellent pupils.

Their daily routine is all set up: going to school, getting back home to do their homework and then helping their mom in the fields. They are good shepherdesses as well, because they often have to tend and rear sheep in the meadows, too.

It seems that the life is slowly returning to the normality after an unprecedented downpour and floods undermined the hill and made many houses disappear in a matter of minutes. Lush nature hides the remains of the huge damage caused after the floods that nearly totally destroyed little city Krupanj and its surrounding. The flood swept away everything the family owned.

For a long time the eldest girl, Bojana and her family lived at her aunt’s place. Through the international donations the family was recently granted a small prefabricated house. They managed to equip the house with the sheer necessities and to buy chicken and sheep to feed the family.

The whole household depends on Bojana’s mother Nada, as father cannot do any heavy work after his heart attack. The hard life is written in the wrinkles on her face, but with a broad smile she says that the girls are of great help to her. When the season comes, all the girls with their mother become field workers, in addition to other tasks. They pick raspberries and blackberries and the money they make from selling these fruits is the only income they make for buying the necessities through the whole year.

"This year we had an exceptionally cold winter with lots of snow. It has been too cold even now, during the spring time, so we cannot make any money off this year's crop yet. The only money we have now in the house is a small child allowance that we get from the State, so you can imagine how important the scholarship I receive from you is!”, explains Bojana in a matter-of-fact tone of her voice. “Every penny is a fortune for us. The first priority in spending this money is to buy all the necessities the girls need for school", explains mother Nada.

After the floods, many young people have left Krzava forever, there are mostly old people households in the village, so there are no other children to play with around. Most of the time four little sisters are the only companions to one another. They are playing, fighting and laughing, as all sisters do. In addition to school obligations, work in the fields and shepherding, Bojana, as the eldest among them, has an additional responsibility to take care of the younger sisters, but this modest girl says that she doesn’t find it so difficult. She talks about her plans after the elementary school, her love for the mathematics, but she doesn’t want to remember the disaster her family went through during the floods. And she says that there is no time for her to feel lonely without her school friends around. “When sometimes, I feel like it, I think about and am looking forward to the next time when I can spend some time alone with my best friend Marta. These are the special days! We are in the same class. She sometimes comes to my home in Krzava, and sometimes I can go to visit her in her village. Then we have time to play and talk”, Bojana explains broadly smiling.

Thank you very much on Bojana’s behalf and all the other children you help us to help!

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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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Organization Information

Pomoc deci

Location: Belgrade, Serbia - Serbia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @pomocdeci
Project Leader:
Ljiljana Vasic
Belgrade, Serbia
$71,738 raised of $90,000 goal
 
495 donations
$18,262 to go
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