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Project "We help restore the safety of home for children and families"

In May of this year, eastern Croatia was hit by severe flooding. Carried by a strong sense of responsibility and the desire to help the affected families, SOS Children's Village Croatia joined the relief efforts by providing material assistance and the most urgently needed types of psychosocial support in coordination with the representatives of the competent Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and the Županja Social Welfare Center.

In May of this year, eastern Croatia was hit by severe flooding when Sava river rose to record-high levels, rupturing the embankments and devastating the area of Rajevo Selo, Račinovci, Gunja, Drenovci, Strošinci and Đurići. Many families lost everything and were forced to leave their homes.

During these difficult days, SOS Children's Village Ladimirevci provided accommodations for a four-member family and two residents of flooded Račinovci. The entire SOS Children's Village Ladimirevci extended a warm and joyous welcome in an effort to restore at least some of the safety they lost and to support them while they grieve and deal with the trauma they experienced.

After our experts visited the affected area and talked to the flood victims, we decided to address the observed problems and the specific needs of the affected population by launching a project of psychosocial support for the children and their families. The project, entitled “We Help Restore the Safety of Home for Children and Families”, is designed to provide help and support to children and adults from the flooded area while they wait to go back to their lives, homes, schools, kindergartens and playgrounds. The first phase of the project began on June 16 when our mobile team, consisting of two psychologists, started its work. Activities of the mobile team are coordinated on site and on the daily basis to suit the actual and expressed needs of families and children. In addition to talks, encouragement and counseling, they include diverse activities that have been identified as the most urgent ones through direct work in the field. We organize daily workshops for children in keeping with a weekly schedule that is announced in advance, enabling the parents to work on renovating their homes while their children are safe in the care of our mobile team members.

At the moment, the mobile team works most intensively in the Drenovci and Strošinci area and in the Vrbanja municipality, where we offer educational and recreational workshops for children, so that they can spend their free time in a stress-free environment while learning new skills, having fun and socializing with their peers in a structured and well-designed program. This allows the youngest family members to have at least some respite from the problems that their adult family members have to face.

Our team will continue to operate in the affected area for at least another 18 months. We plan to continue our cooperation with the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, Županja Social Welfare Center and other stakeholders who want to help, not only by providing the activities that are already being carried out, but also by expanding the range of activities to reflect the needs of the affected population.

Our efforts are focused on making sure that all the problems currently affecting this area are eliminated with a minimum of suffering and as quickly as possible, and helping children and their families return to the safety of their own homes.

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