The APC team visited one of the centers for unaccompanied minors, where it held a creative workshop and, as always, handed the children specifically needed humanitarian aid.
The reception center for unaccompanied minors in Niš is one of the places where children are placed in a safe environment and away from the threats of smugglers, criminals or various other dangers that migrants face. The kids are under the twenty-four-hour care of the Center’s staff and professionals, but unfortunately, this kind of accommodation capacity is not sufficiently and fully utilized. This is primarily due to the fact that children from reception centers and asylum centers in southern Serbia are rarely sent to this center. The reason for such a practice is not entirely clear, but our officials from the APC regional offices noticed that only after the APC signals to the local centers for Social Work and only after its officials initiate the procedures for the placement of guardians, the local reception centers and their administrations recognize the same children as minors and transfer them to the Center for reception of minors in Niš.
Upon arrival and placement in this institution in Niš, children suddenly find themselves outside the atmosphere of collective camps, outside the world of adults. Very often it is necessary for them to get used to new conditions and peace, but also to overcome the boredom with creative and other kind of workshops and socializing that the representatives of our teams on the field provide them with.
This time the participants of our creative workshop were 15-year-old boys from Iraq and Syria. These kids, who survived many bad experiences and various troubles on their way, as well as troubles and threats from smugglers, are now safe in the Center.
The workshop was one of the APC activities planned for the empowerment of minors along with the provision of informational, legal and psychosocial help. At today’s workshop, the children were busy making talismans and symbols of friendship. These brave boys needed time for a short and followed retrospective, to remind themselves that they too can be just kids, that they can put their worries and troubles aside and be carefree, even if only for a moment or a short period of time, in the safe environment of the accommodation center. Through the workshop, we encouraged creativity, thinking, but also strengthened finger motor skills, precision, patience and concentration.
As the kids told our team, they like Serbia, but they are also worried about their future. One of them, who had already spent some time in our country, started learning the Serbian language on his own, lacking the language classes and additional language activities in the same accommodation center. The boys were happy for the clothes provided by our team, knowing that it was one of their immediate needs. Satisfied, because they managed to put a smile on the faces of these little heroes, APC employees kept their personal enthusiasm and motivation to help refugee children stuck in Serbia. Realizing that this process is long and complex, and that it is necessary to achieve continuity and trust, the representatives of our organization do not give up and regularly continue to come and make the kids housed in the Center for minors in Niš happy.
The APC organization regularly visits centers for minors, such as this one in Niš, and holds workshops of a different kind – creative, cultural, integration, hygiene and others, which aim to empower children and help them overcome various challenges while they are in Serbia in the asylum process or waiting for family reunification, voluntary return or the start of integration.