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ADRA Switzerland & Serbia: Relief and protection of refugee children and their families

ADRA Switzerland & Serbia: Relief and protection of refugee children and their families

Syrian Refugees (ADRA Serbia)

The countries on the Balkan route are overwhelmed with the amount and needs are great.

December 14, 2015 | Bern, Switzerland. | APD, CD EUDNEWS.

The flow of refugees to Europe has been ongoing for months; no end seems in sight. The countries on the Balkan route are overwhelmed with the amount and needs are great. With the rapidly approaching winter, the suffering of the people is increasing: insufficiently dressed - especially the children - they suffer from the falling temperatures.

ADRA Serbia has responded early to the problem and opened an information center at a transit point in Belgrade. The refugees there received detailed information about their rights and obligations. Mobile teams, which are regularly working in Belgrade, expand the service.

With the approaching winter, many refugees avoid stopping in Belgrade in order to reach the north as quickly as possible. Support by the Serbian agencies focuses on the border with Croatia. Few care about the border crossings of Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Mobile teams distribute winter and hygiene items to the refugees at the Macedonian border. In addition, as with the Belgrade information center, the refugees receive information about their rights and obligations. Translators accompany trained personnel so that they can speak with the refugees. This ensures that people get the help that they need most.

Many people are exhausted from the journey, often traumatized when they arrive in Serbia. In addition to the basic assistance such as food, hygiene and winter items, they also need medical care and psychological support.

ADRA Serbia sends mobile teams in the region of Preševo, close to the Macedonian border. The teams are made of at least two people: a translator and a social worker. Thanks to the language skills, the team can build a relationship of trust with the people, therefore conveying proper information about their rights and obligations. Through this contact, the teams always know exactly what the needs of refugees are.

The most desperate refugees need hygiene and winter items like rain jackets, boots or blankets. The team buys small quantities of items to quickly regulate changes in needs.

All employees of the mobile teams are trained to recognize the symptoms of stress and trauma. Thus, they can, if necessary, send people to the appropriate institutions in Serbia. This way, people get targeted assistance that they need. 

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