Stories and reports

Medjashi Refuge for children in crisis:

A shelter for 4 families from Aracinovo

 Skopje, March 20, 2002

Since the very beginning of the crisis in the Skopje village of Aracinovo, four families from the village have been temporarily given shelter at the Refuge for children in crisis, located in the rooms of The First Children Embassy in the World, Medjashi in Skopje.

As the Medjashi Executive Manager, Mr. Dragi Zmijanac said, it was planned that the Refuge for children in crisis start to operate last year, with a 24-hour coverage by the professionally employed psychologist, pedagogue, and a social worker, as well as an SOS line, however, due to the military crisis, the Refuge had to open for the several Aracinovo families, temporarily displaced from their homes

"It is best at home, but here in Medjashi the living conditions are very good. After the crisis in Aracinovo had started and the first citizens had been displaced, we reported to the media that we were in position to provide shelter for several families. Thus, at the moment, there are 15 people at the Refuge for children in critical condition, that is, 7 children and 8 adults, or 4 families. There is a playroom, a laundry, a kitchen, a dinning room, a bathroom and separate bedrooms for each family. Occasionally, we organize visits to the cinema, theatre and together we also celebrated the New Year’s Day, Christmas, and hopefully we are going to celebrate Easter together, too", explained Mr. Zmijanac. "

The Children are aged several months to 10 years. Their mothers are unemployed. Fathers, who are the heads of the families, are managing somehow.

Valentina Stojanovska is the mother of two children. She has been at Medjashi with her husband and her two children since 18 June. "The roof of our house, as well as the second floor are completely ruined. They were hit by a tank bomb. So, it means that our house is completely ruined. After the situation had relatively calmed down, my husband and I returned to visit our property there on several occasions. The house looked depressing. For the time being we do not intend to return there. We are afraid to do it, we are afraid of the explosives that are probably still there, we are afraid of our neighbors with whom we used to be in good terms before the crisis. It is like everything has changed. We hope that the country will provide us with a decent temporary housing, since it was not our fault that we were displaced. Here it is really good and we would like to thank Medjashi for all their efforts, but for how long can a four-member family live in just one room?"

The other three families have been in Medjashi since 15 June.

Suzana Jovanovik is here, too, with her husband and her two daughters. One of them was born seven months ago, on 1st of  August.

- "I have not visited our house in Aracinovo, yet….Or what has been left of it. I am afraid to do it. My husband went there several times and I know that there it is gone. I am not going back there, it is dangerous, I want to keep the memory of it. One day I will tell my daughter about her home. We thank Medjashi that they helped are that they are still helping us, said Suzana."

Biljana Jovanovik shares the destiny with her co-citizens. She is here with her husband and her son, the youngest child at the Refuge – Aleksandar. As she proudly said, Alaksandar was born on 25 June, the day of Aracinovo liberation. And – there was nothing left of their house. Biljana’s does not think of going back there, either.

The fourth family, Gjogjevik’s house was not much damaged. However, they are also afraid to return because they feel insecure.

"There is a lot to be done in order to re-establish the coexistence in Aracinovo. For the time being, it is even difficult to discuss it. I cannot trust anybody. I am here with my husband and our two daughters, one of them is two and the other seven years old", said Elizabeta Gjorgjevik.

The regular food for these families provides Medjashi. Occasionally, there is humanitarian help for these families from other organizations, but as they say themselves, they are slowly becoming forgotten.

Daniel Medaroski, MCIC

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