Niš, 04/08/2022 – APC/CZA has been providing legal, psychological and integration support to refugees in Serbia for 15 years. A particularly vulnerable group are unaccompanied children, whom we meet all over the country, very often in inhumane conditions, without the protection and support. A small percentage of these children, whose vulnerability is also recognized by the institutions, receive accommodation in one of the social protection institutions.
Staying in a safe environment, in a clean and neat environment, surrounded by care of their teachers, these children get the opportunity to feel like children and to at least for one period feel a certain relaxation and establish connections with the local environment.
In Niš, we talk to three boys from Afghanistan who behave as if they were at their home, respect their teachers as they would their parents, make jokes, complain about difficulties in learning Serbian, more or less accept their daily responsibilities, just like local kids, they try to come up with excuses not to go to school.
They like attention, they like to hear their own language, they like to joke.
All of them come from the South, and what particularly worries us is that almost all of them spent several weeks in Preševo, in the reception center with adults, in very bad conditions. Although not everyone was eager to go to the new accommodation in the social welfare institution, they remember that notorious camp with bitterness. Hence the question of whether enough work is being done to inform unaccompanied minors, encourage them and establish trust so that they can really realize their rights.
We had previously heard from the administration that some children started fasting during Ramadan and that they needed food to prepare for dinner. Our team brought them humanitarian aid in the form of food, which was met with great joy by the kids accommodated in the institute.