Five Years of Compassion: Our Journey with Refugees and Migrants

21 June 2024

On World Day of Migrants and Refugees, we celebrated the beginning of our journey with refugees and migrants. Our journey with them has now reached its fifth year.

Since our establishment on July 12, 2018, with invaluable support from dedicated volunteers from JRS Croatia, we embarked on a mission of compassion and solidarity. Our journey began with preparations and cleaning of temporary reception centers like Sedra, and soon we expanded our offerings to translation services in key institutions such as healthcare facilities, police, and courts.

However, our commitment went beyond translation. We became companions in the most crucial moments of our beneficiaries’ lives. We provided essential psychosocial support within the centers and improved their quality of life by distributing NFO packages and other necessities in the field.

The opening of the Day Center at JRS House in Bihać marked a significant step forward, offering beneficiaries opportunities to engage in various activities, prepare traditional meals, access clean clothing and footwear from our storage, and enjoy quality time during the day.

Over these five years, we actively participated in events that promoted the integration of refugees into the local community and connected the local community with our beneficiaries, such as street food festivals and concerts organized by the Italian band GenRosso. We also took on the role of educators, screening films about refugees’ experiences among school children and students to encourage understanding and empathy.

As the culmination of our efforts, we opened a Reception Center for Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers and Vulnerable/Separated Children in collaboration with Caritas Switzerland, Caritas BiH, and Ipsia BiH.

We are also proud of our magazine “Paths” for refugees, launched in October 2019. Through this publication, we share stories, experiences, and perspectives of refugees, educating the wider public about their lives and challenges.

Our commitment to raising awareness did not stop there. We actively collected refugee stories through storytelling, aiming to sensitize the local community and the broader public to the struggles and hopes of refugees, fostering understanding and empathy.

Last September, we launched our radio show ”Blessing of Travelers”, providing a platform for conversations with refugees to share their stories and experiences, promoting intercultural understanding.

Our success and impact are owed to the unwavering support and trust of our dedicated volunteers and supporters. Together, we continue to walk toward a brighter future.

We celebrated our five years of mission with refugees and migrants and World Day of Migrants and Refugees at all the places where we serve, advocate, and support our beneficiaries, especially in temporary reception centers in Bihać and Sarajevo. Together, we cooked traditional food from Morocco and Afghanistan, danced, sang, and participated in sports activities.

In our journey, we discovered that every human being seeks a home, safety, protection, friendship, understanding, and support. Our modest contributions on their long and challenging journey aimed to provide a sense of home, abundant understanding, and the gift of friendship. We strove to be their joy and strength that encourages them to go on. We hope we have succeeded in that.

This celebration serves as a powerful reminder, both to our beneficiaries and to us, that they are not alone. We are here for them, standing together in solidarity, promoting unity and inclusion on our shared path.