“This morning around 7:45 I was standing at the gate of Miksalište, waiting for our guard to open the back door, as we don’t open until 10 AM. It was then that I saw two women walking towards us, both limping and walking with much difficulty. Once they were closer, I saw that one was holding a baby of no more than three months, while the other had an older baby in her hands who had something that at first glance seemed like a cold. The woman with the older baby had on shoes that were completely destroyed, even her socks were torn, and both were visibly tired and frightened. RJ, our interpreter, tried to communicate with them, and we realized that they had not eaten for days, that they were hungry, shivering, weak and that they had been sleeping outside. You realize that we live in a world in which, just overnight, women and children can be denied a basic human right, the right to life, and that we all are obliged to help as much as we can and that we must not turn our heads the other way,” says Marija from Miksalište.
After they had received new clothes and shoes and eaten, Marija spoke with the families about their situation and the reasons why they had had to leave their country. Here is the story Hana, from Syria, told us:
This morning we arrived in Serbia. Frozen, hungry, barefoot and wet. We walked for a few days, with the three-month-old baby in my arms, and my sister with her one-year-old. The other children are old enough to be able to walk alone. My sister and I, with the six children, have been traveling for months. First from Syria into Iraq, and now we are on our way to Germany. My son-in-law, my sister’s husband, is there waiting for us. He has already been working for the past six months in Germany.
Before the war began in Syria, we lived in a rented apartment in the city center. My husband was working in a restaurant, and I took care of the children. I could not work much because I have a health problem and I cannot stay long on my legs. This has made my journey even more difficult.
And after all this time I still do not understand how someone’s life can change entirely just over night… I keep wondering, why do my children have to go through all of this? Look at my daughter! She is exhausted and hasn’t slept for days, just walking… I can’t even feed her because I have no money, and we must rely on the charity of others. I am grateful for the help we have received, of course, but this feeling is terrible. Being unable to help the children is horrendous.
We hope that we will make it to Germany. If we do, I want to learn the language and a new skill so that I, too, can contribute earnings. My only wish is to find a safer life. I’m not looking for a better life, just a safer one.
Published by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom with the support of Mikser House. The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.