Sponsor a child in Serbia
Conflict and political turmoil during the 1990s left Serbia under extreme pressure. Families continue to suffer due to a combination of overstretched social services, high unemployment and worsening poverty. The current refugee crisis is adding further strain and thousands of refugees arriving in Serbia are in desperate need of help.
You can help a child flourish in a healthy, happy family home:
A turbulent history
Serbia is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of central and south-eastern Europe. The union of Serbia and Montenegro was voted into existence by the Yugoslav parliament in February 2003 and Yugoslavia formally ceased to exist. In 2006, Serbia and Montenegro agreed to separate.
Tough times for families
A period of political turmoil and conflict during the 1990s isolated the country internationally and has left the government with huge challenges coping with its social caseload. Family support systems have been under extreme pressure. Unemployment is high, at approximately 21% of the population. This has contributed to increasing household poverty and a worsening situation for children.
The refugee crisis in Europe is placing further strain on services. An estimated 3,000 refugees arrive in Serbia everyday, most on their way to Hungary. In response we have establised an Emergency Relief Programme, providing urgent help - especially to unaccompanied children to those fleeing their home countries in search of safety. We are offering medical care, including pysho-social support for children who have witnessed trauma, as well as shelter and food.
Our work in Serbia
In 2003 work began on building the SOS Children's Village Kraljevo, Central Serbia. In April 2005 the first children moved into the SOS Children's Village here. The Village is built in the suburban community of Beranovac on the outskirts of the Middle Serbian town of Kraljevo.
The Village comprises fourteen family houses which provide a new home and mother for up to 98 children. A playground and a sports field provide space for the children to play together outside. The children attend the local primary school, which is only a few hundred meters away, and the local secondary schools in the town.
At the same time the Village was built, a Family Strengthening Programme was set up in cooperation with an SOS Social Centre in Kraljevo. The programme runs creative activities for children, which help them to make friends and improve their social skills. Classes are also provided for parents to inform them about educational matters and child development.
Life in SOS Children's Village Serbia: Our first summer holiday
SOS Children's Village Kraljevo is the liveliest and noisiest community of this central Serbian town - except at the end of June, when the children were away on their first summer holiday. The chosen destination was a quiet small resort in the vicinity of Tivat in Montenegro. Two children from the Village share their memories.
"It sure was a long trip. We travelled by bus almost an entire day. I liked the trip at first, looking at all the mountains and stuff, but then it got boring. We were all tired and couldn't wait to get to the sea. We had a competition on the bus: first one to spot the sea gets to be the first to go swimming. I won!
We unpacked in a hurry and rushed to the beach. Some people wanted to rest. Not me. I loved the waves. When they hit the shore, the foam looked like snow. I swam and swam for hours. When we came back we showered, had dinner and went to sleep. I fell asleep like a baby.
At eight o'clock in the morning we had breakfast. After breakfast came the best part - going to the beach! We came back around noon for lunch, which was excellent, shortly rested and then hit the beach again. All this repeated over and over again every day. I hate doing the same things when I'm in school, but here... I loved it!"
"I love the summer because it's warm and pleasant and there's no school. I'm always happy in the summer and this one especially because I went on vacation. I could not wait to see the seaside. We passed by mountains and rivers and more mountains and soon I got very tired. I fell asleep in the bus seat and I woke up when we arrived at our vacation spot.
I was so happy that the beach was near. The Adriatic Sea is beautiful; bright blue like the sky with nice warm water. Also, the house in which we spent our holiday was very nice. We played in the sand and swam and had fun every day. It was beautiful. That's how I spent my first summer holiday."
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