orphans

Serbian orphans need your help.

I am writing this article with a full range of emotions. I am sad, angry, hurt, but also inspired and optimistic. For the last few days, I have been learning about the stories of children who grew up as orphans in Serbia and who succeed to overcome dire life circumstances against all odds.

Some of them were left behind by their parents and some of them lost their parents to homicide and suicide. Left with no guardian to look after them through life, these young children ended up in the Serbian orphanages. These beautiful toddlers had to grow up overnight and quicly learn how to take care of themselves.

Although they come with unique stories, they all share the scars of abandonment, abuse, uncertainty and a lack of a secure home environment. They were often moved from one foster home to another, from one orphanage to another lacking basic existential stability.

The orphanages are all they know from an early age until they reach 18 years old. Then, the social workers terminate their stay in the orphanage. It is the end of the road, the last stop and they are told to “get out”. The worst thing is, no one prepared them for transition. They are just told that it is time to move out.

Suddenly, these orphans become “no one’s problem”. With no family to go to, without a safe place to stay, without a job, they are abandoned, again, this time by social services, institutions, and the government.

These young people usually find themselves on the street and without any practical life skills, scared and marginalized. Without a proper guidance and adjustment program, they don’t stand a chance in life. Alone in the world, relying on people’s charity for basic food and shelter, they are often become easy targets for manipulation, human trafficking, drugs, crime and prostitution.

Hope and support for vulnerable orphans

In order to prevent the fallout and offer hope, the Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion (FSCI) comes into the picture. It is a charitable organisation registered in the UK and Bulgaria that works across southeast Europe by providing help, support and opportunities to vulnerable children and young people who come from orphanages, dysfunctional families and extreme poverty.

By providing support and giving these children a chance for independence and normal life, they are tackling the problem of modern slavery, human trafficking, prostitution, and crime.

Star Centre in Belgrade

In Serbia, FSCI contacted the founder of the  ‘Star’ centre‘, Tatjana Drazilovic, and they offered her to become the leader of  the ‘ House of Opportunity’ in Serbia. In order to take up this position, she left her full-time permanent job as a teacher.

At the House of Opportunity, Tatjana gives opportunities to these orphans, who when they turn 18+ years do not have anywhere to go. Tatjana opened the door of the flat that she rented for this purpose in Belgrade and Nis, embracing the young people as if they were her own children. She and her husband also have four biological children.

I do wonder where Tatjana finds the strength, time and love to have all these vulnerable young people. She is a rare example, an inspiration, a genuine philanthropist and a superb human being.

The House Of Opportunity for orphans

Tatjana believes in these young people and takes care of them unconditionally. Not only that she is giving them shelter but also an opportunity to study and develop their life skills. She embrace them as her extended family so they can always rely on her support even when they move on and leave the House of Opportunity.

The House of Opportunity provides courses in IT, driving lessons and life skills that will help these young people to find a job and make something of themselves.

These young adults in the House of Opportunity are an inspiration to see, as they struggle to overcome obstacles and become independent. Most of them succeed and go to university, all due to the support and help of Tatjana and people’s generous charitable donations.

Star’ Center and The House of Opportunity do not have any support from the Serbian Government, they purely depend on public goodwill and donations.

Your help can make a difference

The running costs and expenses of one “House of Opportunity” is 1600 euros per month.They already fund two houses like this, but money is the problem.

When you ask all these young people what they want in life, they all say the same things, to start a family one day, have their own place to live and not to live their lives in the shadow, but a visible and respected citizen, just like everyone else.

I would like to invite you to consider participating to support and help this wonderful and important project.

We should all do all that we can in our power to protect these children from the myriad of potential dangers they face and give them the chance for a better life. Surely they have already suffered enough, we can change that by helping a little bit. Together we can change their lives.

Please get in touch with The Wives of Westminster or https://www.fscinet.org/donate/. (just add Serbia)

Or The charity ‘Star’ centre  directly ( Phone: +381.63.833.9001; email: [email protected] ; [email protected] ) to help in any way you can.

Nevena Bridgen
Nevena Bridgen

Founder

Nevena Bridgen is the Founder of The Wives of Westminster. She is an opera singer and a wife of MP Andrew Bridgen.

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