• February 22, 2024
 A house full of mice, cockroaches and mold – little Milica (11) knits belts to survive!

A house full of mice, cockroaches and mold – little Milica (11) knits belts to survive!

My name is Milica, I’m 11 years old and I most like to help mom and dad with knitting belts we were greeted by little Milica Mijatović from Kuzmin near Sremska Mitrovica, whose main task, in addition to knitting, as the eldest, is to take care of her younger brothers and sisters.

God blessed the young couple, Perica and Tanja, with six children, three boys and three girls. Along with Milica, there are Goran and Gordana (10), Jelena (6), Zoran (3) and Mihajlo (1). However, apart from the children, their dilapidated house is also full of mice, cockroaches and mold!

There are a lot of mice, and when it rains heavily, cockroaches come out, too. We are afraid of them – adds Milica.

They survive on modest social assistance, child benefits and seasonal jobs. In addition, they knit shoelaces.

A woman brings materials for a company in Ruma, so we make it. We earn a few dinars. The children at least get used to some chores that are not difficult. However, the pay is very small. By the time we pay electricity, rent, and other expenses, we have little left over, so we try to stretch it out for the whole month. While they are not in school we somehow manage, but when they start everything is much more difficult. Very often there is not enough for school lunches or supplies – mother Tanja joins the conversation.

From birth, the childhood of these little ones is contained in two rented and cramped rooms, where they play, study, and socialize primarily with each other, because there is no room for a larger gathering. The three youngest sleep with their mother on a mattress, but in winter they are all together in one room, to be warmer. They don’t have a bathroom or water, only a tap in the yard. They plug the holes near the windows with sponges to block the draft. There are leaks everywhere, and mold can be seen in plain sight. Since the recent heavy storm, the children’s room is in complete darkness.

We have been tenants here for 14 years, we pay 4,000 dinars. All our children were born here and they don’t know of anything better. Unfortunately, we will soon have to leave. The owner informed us that he will retire next year and return here to live. We don’t know where we will go with six children and who would accept us – Tanja is worried.

Despite the catastrophic conditions, the children are healthy. However, the father, Perica, had serious high blood pressure problems and was in the hospital for a while. That really scared them. Tanja was pregnant at the time, so she had to take care of the children and everything by herself. Now he is taking medications and has to be careful, but he also has to work. Many material needs are not affordable.

However, it is not the lack of material things that hurts as much as the mental pain caused by the lack of human compassion. Mother Tanja especially emphasized this to us:

“They walk to school even when it’s raining or snowing. No one wants to drive them because they think they are poor, that they don’t have what others have. They come home from school wet, and here they are greeted with dampness and cold. It bothers them, although they don’t talk about it. I feel sorry that I can’t do anything, I am their mother!”

The Mijatovćs have never traveled anywhere. They don’t go on excursions because it is very expensive, and, as they say, if they could send only one child, they would feel sorry for the others. That’s why they don’t let them go at all. The one who is saddest about this is little, quiet Goran. His favorite thing is to watch football, but lately, the TV has not been working. When asked if he had any wishes, he shyly answered:

I am asking very good people to buy me a house, I would like to invite my friends from school to come over. This house is not nice.

Most people today would not dare to even have a pet without first resolving their housing situation, having a secure and stable job, and meeting all the other criteria society expects to be in place before starting a family. The Mijatovićs bravely embarked on their matrimonial path, without these considerations, firmly determined to have numerous offspring like their parents, as they jokingly say “so that they don’t get bored of the game”, and to help each other in the future. They are not sitting idly by, but they have failed to find a home. That’s why they decided to turn to us for help!

The new mission for the Charity Serbs for Serbs and all its donors is to try to turn their dreams of a family home into reality. Maybe it was the youngest Mihajlo, asleep during our visit, who was dreaming about a new house, not even knowing that his dream might soon come true.

We invite all good people to be part of this new fundraiser. The young Mijatovćs deserve our help to be able to live as their peers!

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