17 June 2021

Mental health is also important: You’re not alone

Vranje, Serbia, May 2021 - “We have big problems. We don't have a house; a normal life and we can’t see our future. I often cry because I’m worried about my children. However, I find my peace at the workshops organized in the centre, I don’t think about my problems, I feel good and useful,” says thirty-five-year-old Mahdieh, who has been staying…, The four years that she has been on the road, far from her country, family, and her career as an agricultural engineer, have left consequences on her physical and mental health. Unfortunately, other refugee and migrant families share her fate., Mahdie često na kreativne radionice dovodi svoju dvogodišnju ćerku Selenu. That is why UNICEF, through the Strengthening Refugee and Migrant Children’s Health Status in Southern and South-Eastern Europe project, supports Info Park, a non-governmental organization working in Reception Centre in Vranje. Info Park organizes workshops aimed at…, “Just today we talked about how to cope with stress. We also learn how to recognize violence. Now we know that it's not always physical and visible, that it can also be psychological. We often pick the topics we want to discuss ourselves. Men can't come to workshops, and I like it that way, because we wouldn't be able to speak freely in front of…, Žene i devojčice učestvuju u radionici uz podršku Aleksandre i Milice iz Info parka. COVID-19, health concerns and the consequences of the lockdown and the inability to leave the centre have also been discussed at the workshops.    “It was difficult and stressful for us during the pandemic. We weren't leaving our rooms. My husband and I…, “We tell them to take care of themselves, that they have to know their rights, and tell them what mechanisms they have available to protect themselves from psychological and physical violence. Because they come from different cultures and want to go to Europe where the culture is completely different. That’s why we encourage them to talk about…, Na radionicama se dele edukativne brošure na arapskom, farsi, engleskom i srpskom jeziku. Aleksandra Pantovic has been working for six years on projects helping refugees and migrants in Vranje. She has learned how to gain their trust and help them.  "Women at the centre most often complain about gender inequality in intimate relationships. That’s…, “Beneficiaries noticed that one woman was suffering gender-based violence and supported and encouraged her to report the perpetrator. The Commissariat for Refugees and Migration and the Centre for Social Work acted and the woman was moved from the reception centre into a safe house, so it had an effect,” says Aleksandra and explains that they’re…, Aleksandra (prva sleva) pomaže ženama i devojčicama na radionicama da iskažu i svoju kreativnost. “They tell us that they like the time spent with us because they can forget about their worries and family commitments and have the time for themselves. They even encourage one another to come. Uncertainty makes them stressed and depressed, so they…, “We can see the positive effect and results. This is reflected in the fact that women are coming regularly, both those aged over 50 and girls as young as 10,” says Milica., Milica smatra najbitnijim predavanja o rodnoj neravnopravnosti i prevenciji nasilja. These workshops also mean a lot to Mahdieh from the beginning of our story, because, as she says, they make her everyday life more bearable. “I wish there were more of them, so that we can joke, talk, and at least for a while, relax and forget about our problems…