Children's camp in Porin
In cooperation CBAid and Scripture Union Croatia held a successful camp for the youngest asylum seekers in Croatia in hotel Porin in Zagreb from July 31st to August 4th 2017.
"Meeting the refugees through the camp was like walking through a door opened for the miracles God is doing around the world. People from Aleppo, broken with what happened to their city, but still their presence expressed a deep hope and persevering faith. I am deeply amazed and changed by their will to live and I believe that serving the refugees was the peak of my summer," said Rachel who served God all summer through Scripture Union in Severin and Zagreb, Croatia and Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In the Scripture Union Croatia we are already praying for a long time for the refugees. But how can we serve them here, in Zagreb? The reply came through a conversation with Željko Čanji, CBA team leader in Porin, who gave us advice on how to serve the children in Porin through a five day camp, he filled out the forms, answered all the necessary and unnecessary questions in order for us to get a green light to come to Porin. We arrived on July 31st 2017 and set up the camp on the "lawn" that Jonathan prepared for us the day before. We were a colorful team working together for the first time: three Americans (two of them living in Germany), one Korean, and two Croatians. We are thankful for the big heart of the CBAid and the cooperation we received because that was the open doors for what was going to happen. We prepared stories, songs, English lessons, creative workshops, and a lot of games in order to motivate, educate and direct children every morning. But things didn't go as planned. The temperature didn't go below 30 degrees Celsius, even in the evening, so we had to start our camp after 6 o'clock in the afternoon. Each day before the camp, while we were preparing, we had a privilege to see many people living in Porin, we would raise our hands or say "salam" in Farsi as we were taught by the Syrian volunteers. Some younger people who knew English would come and talk to us and we heard a lot of terrifying stories, and there were also older people who were just curious and observed us. Our prayer was for God to use even a smile that we can give. Loud, cheerful children aged from 5 to 12 were running around to "help" us prepare, most of them boys. During five days of camp we met around 20 children. CBAid volunteers encouraged us to teach the kids hygiene so each day we would sing songs about brushing teeth (handing out tooth brushes and tooth paste donated by 2 companies), washing hands, picking up garbage, even about crossing the street. With games, the kids were won over by the creative workshop, but also by the short drama after which there would be a Bible story teaching about true values. Every day during our preparation time we would pray for all the children asking God to prepare us and give us wisdom. The oldest boy gave us a hard time the first day and showed everyone he is the leader. But on the third day he was sitting in the front row hurrying the interpreter to hear what the story is about. We saw happy and unhappy children, clean and dirty, well-behaved and rude children, and we know that God opened us a door to serve and to remind us to see them with love. We want to serve the refugees again, and we are already looking forward to it.
Next planned camp will be organized in Kutina in another center for asylum seekers in Croatia where there are more women and children. CBAid recognizing the need to serve the most vulnerable groups, will keep doing its activities through 2018 offering the necessary help and support to the most vulnerable groups of asylum seekers in Croatia. If you wish to volunteer and gain experience in coordinating and implementing a project, feel free to contact us.
If you wish to support Croatian Baptist Aid, send your donation to:
Account Name: RUKE NADE (this is Croatian registered name for CBA and means Hands of Hope)
Address : Radiceva 30, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Bank name: Privredna banka Zagreb
Bank address: Radnicka cesta 50, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Bank account / IBAN: HR3823400091110817743
SWIFT ID Code: PBZGHR2X