Reaching the Jezdimirovic home in the village of Radalj, municipality of Mali Zvornik, requires a five kilometre ride along a rough forest road, a one kilometre walk through mud, and eight crossings of a winding a stream. Until recently, the only means of transport was by horse, but today there is the popular “Tomos” motorcycle. Kilometres away from neighbours and light-years away from civilization, little Dragana is celebrating her ninth birthday.
The only birthday guests are members of the Charity organization Serbs for Serbs. Family members present are grandmother Vladanka (76), uncle Milovan, father Radovan, mother Marija, brother Dejan (11), sisters Danijela (5) and Danica (2). They all live together in an old, two-room house.
There are no roads, and it is difficult to transport groceries, everything. We carry everything on our backs. We cross the water, without the benefit of a bridge. We jump over the rocks. In the summer we somehow manage, but in the winter it is impossible – says mother Marija.
Their home does not belong to them. It is surrounded by woods, and is at the foot of “Mackov Kamen”, the site of important battles during the First World War. They farm a hectare of land where they have planted potatoes and beans. At least they have some of their own food as reaching a store is not easy.
It takes us an hour and a half, one way, to get to the store, and during the winter, two and a half hours. We set aside a whole day to shop – adds father Radovan.
Fortunately, they have electricity, but it is not much consolation considering all the other things that they lack. They do not have a bathroom, and have to heat water on the stove in order to bathe in a trough. Until recently, winters were very hard.
We were filled with anxiety when we slept. Whenever there was a big snowfall, my husband and brother-in-law would get on the roof to clear off the snow to prevent the roof from collapsing under the weight. Thank God, two years ago the city provided us with the use of apartment midtown. While it is not in the best condition, at least we will be there while it is winter – says mother Marija.
Before they moved, the oldest son was taken to and from school everyday for two years. Their story was told in “Eksploziv.” Water was delivered to the house in buckets, and many times the clothes were washed in the stream. We asked baba Vladanka if it was difficult for her.
You do what you must.
Birthday girl Dragana treated us to juice and told us that they have five sheep, three pigs, two chickens and a rooster. They only receive social assistance and child allowance. Occasionally they make money picking raspberries, their only other source of income. In the end, Radovan told us what their hopes are:
What can you do but suffer quietly. As long as the children are alive and healthy, all is well. It would mean a lot to buy a house close to schools, hospitals, stores and other people.
This family truly deserves help, says Sladjana Djurovic, a member of the charity organization Serbs for Serbs.
While the Jezdimirovics are far from civilization, they are not that far that they cannot be helped. With our donors, we believe we can get them the help they need.
We invite everyone to join our action and to show compassion for the Jezdimirovic family, who are truly experiencing terrible living conditions!
Here is how you can donate: