Hi friends ~
We are making some changes, and adding some really good updates -- Instagram is one of them! Jump over to our Instagram page and take a look at our latest pictures. It's incredible how many connections we've made through social media in such a short time, and all of these connections help us bring awareness to the humanitarina needs in Serbia. Whether its fundraiser for a specific cause, or connecting artist in Serbia to gallery owners in America, connections are a good thing! Do you have a special passion, or a certain cause that you'd like us to know about? Please send us an email at the link below -- we look forward to connecting with you! email@example.com
SERBIA – A HEART OF EUROPE
During period of refugee crisis from Syria, lot of people passed through our country... and still. We organized friends and NGO to help those people in need. We were packing packages of food, hygiene, water, and everything they will need for traveling to their destinations.
EUS Serbia (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) and ROM (Renewing Our Minds) was partnering in this situation with refugees. With packages we were at Hungary border and at Croatian border. In one day 6000 refugees came with buses from Belgrade to cross this border with Croatia. We were sharing this packages and talking with refugees - a lot of people tired of walking... One more obstacle, border of Croatia, and passing through corn fields for their „promise land“ last destination – Germany, Sweden, Nederlands, etc.
Despite of many years of media lies about Serbs and Serbia, our people had a heart for strangers from another country, because, we had a Serb refugees from Bosnia and Croatia, a lot of times in a wars, embargos and poverty during more than 30 years, and we know the feeling of loosing everything and trying to find something for survival in these wilderness and chaos.
Serbia – a heart of Europe, heart that a lot of people was hurting and lot of them staying in it...
Serbia is my heart!
„For where your treasure is, there will be also your heart“ (The Bible) Matthew 6:21
HE HELD OUT HIS HAND
Who is this man? Oddly dressed.
With outstretched hand. He wants something?
I live in Serbia. In the old Roman capital - Sremska Mitrovica. The small town with its rich culture and history. Four times it has been the capital of the Roman Empire. Many emperors were born here. Once, we were the strongest industrial city. And now? Picture says it all.
"The European Union, we will be better, let's go there!" Very often, these words resound on the TV, the radio, in parliament. But I do not believe in fairy tales. Not just me, but and this old man, a beggar, who is eating from a trash container when we met, he thinks differently .
In my town, all the factories are closed. Young people are in confusion. Many want to go out of our country. They're looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Do you have choise? Where is the light?
The answer to the question, I received an unexpected, one summer day when I accidentally stumbled upon this beggar. What's the response been?
When I was at the primary school, often times through the window I saw this man, hunched, how he pushing wheelchair, he try found at the container something, filled with a sack and put on his back and continued to walk. Often, I asked others people, who he is, but no one knew the answer. And, 15 years later, I ran into him. The "meeting" was unexpected. I recognized him immediately.
Little man. Hunched. Torn clothes. Holey shoes.
I was about to go to the beach. He stood in the container. I felt the strong stench. I approached him. He looks scared.
"Hello, I want to greet you. Do you need anything. Maybe the shoes, money? Or food?"
Sad eyes and a slight smile, he replied: "No boy, I don't need, you need the money."
I was astonished. I took out all the money I had, and gave it to him. He did not want to take. I was surprised and asked why. He was silent. And he watched me. Sad sight ..
"But take this money, really, I want to help you," I told him. And, after a few minutes, an old man, held out his hand. At that moment, my heart broke. I was happy. But, sad. Strange feeling.
I asked him to tell me something about his life. He grew up with his brother who always humiliated him. In school, he was frequently belittled. He was marginalized in society.
At one point he said: "There will not God help us, and He left us." Strange, but he seemed happy and satisfied.
"Do you have help from the city, municipality, anyone?" I asked him. He looked at me, with tired eyes and replied: "No, no one has ever helped me. I'm struggling through with life."
I'm speechless. Why? Beside me stood a man who I've seen many times in my life. He was always in a hurry, always he pulled some old stuff from the container and quickly left place. Now, he looked so peaceful and happy to be talking with someone.. I was never able to learn more about him. Now, I had the opportunity. And, I decided to help him.
I went home. I sat on the bed and thinking. I decided.
I called my little brother and asked him to help me. We took from my room one bed and two armchairs. I found out where is his house. When we went there, we were speechless. A man was sitting at the entrance in demolished house and he ate the bone. Beside him, passed by a rat. There is no electricity and no water. One horror scene, unbelievable. I was surprised.
We gave him a bed and two armchairs. He looks very happy. I promised him that I would bring him some things when you collect. We turned around and left.
And, brother and I, we were imagined. We walked on the street.. We kept quiet..
I was thinking. About what?
About my city.
Where did it go humanism? Where is a good people? What happened to us?
The answer lies in the us, deep inside and in open and outstretched old and feeble hand of this man.
One summer day, changed my life.
Serbian Patriarch Pavle said: "Let us be men."
Humanity has no price.
For more inforation on Aleksander Jovanovic and his martial arts school in Serbia "Wing Chun Kung Fu Mali Zmaj" please email us at Bridgestoserbia@gmail.com
Serbia! It’s charming and beautiful – if you’ve been here, you know.
But I must be honest -- I favor the village. Endless miles of rolling hills, amazing organic food and simple living. One should come here just to breathe the air.
I’m an American Serb who would give anything for acres of organic land and the knowledge and fortitude to grow my own food. In America we have “Farm to Table” restaurants popping up everywhere – here in the village, it’s always been that way.
But all this greatness comes with a price. Hard work! People work hard just to survive. There are no jobs to make a living. The majority of people want to escape – I want to stay!
In Serbia the economy is bad, horrific actually. The floods in May made matters worse. All of this economical chaos has taken a big toll on families, and sometimes parents leave. Yes, you read correctly. Parents leave!
Sadly, it’s quite common for many of the village children to live with their grandparents or neighbors because their parents leave to find work in other countries. It’s so common that no one really talks about it. It’s shocking to me! What upsets me the most is when the mother’s leave, and don’t come back.
I was horrified to hear the life story of one of our sweet friends, who at the age of 14 only met his mother once. To make matters worse, his father is mental ill and unable to care for him. He lives with a neighbor.
Because it’s Serbia, these kids will always have enough to eat, and a place to sleep – after all, Serbia is the most hospitable place on earth. But with such a large number of Serbian Diaspora in the world, we can’t just sit back and settle for that. So let’s do something, friends – the children and families of Serbia need us!
This picture titled "Guardian of the country and the city" is of our friend Boki Jovanovic of Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia. He and his brother Alexandar worked day and night filling sand bags to defend their city from the floods. Great men and true heroes!
NEW BELGRADE OPERA, in collaboration with young artists from Belgrade and Sombor, organizes a HUMANITARIAN CONCERT for the victims of the floods. OPERA TO THE PEOPLE! Soloists: Predrag Gosta, Marija Jelic, Jana Jovanovic, Simonida Jovanovic and Bojana Dimkovic. THE CITY HALL in SOMBOR, on FRIDAY, 23rd of May 2014, beginning at 6 PM.
Flood Relief Fundraising Events have been announced in five cities! Click here to see the list of fundraisers. We will update these as we hear of more.