One could write about an idyllic village life, but except for their natural surroundings, there is nothing idyllic about the Djordjevićs’ lives. They say that their house during the period between the two world wars, was the most beautiful in the village. Today, Emilija (12), Jovan (15), Milica (17) and Danilo (19) each day fear that their house will collapse!
The village of Balčak is located in a pretty area, not far from Prokuplje, four kilometers from the main road. These aerial shots are proof of that. But what they more importantly show is that the village, unfortunately, is basically deserted. Around their home are forests and pastures, with few houses scattered about.
The house is poorly constructed, with weak beam support. Of what value is it to us that this was once a beautiful home? See how the ceiling sags over the table in the dining room? I have nowhere to invite my guests for Archangel Michael. Should I have the ceiling land on their heads – asks homeowner Gojko.
Gojko’s ancestors came from Kosovo and Metohija about a hundred years ago. He returned only to defend his homeland from separatists.
I would ask nothing for myself, but for my children I must. I don’t want them to forever bathe in a tin trough. Even our outdoor toilet is destroyed. We could manage if I at least had somewhere to work… – adds Gojko.
The family survives on social assistance and children’s allowance, while the father works in the forest. Most of their land is covered with trees, while a small portion is cultivated. The children told us what animals they have:
We have a cow, horse, four goats, three goatlings, nine piglets, ten chickens, four geese, and kittens. The chickens are vulnerable to attacks from fox.
These children are quiet, but from their penetrating gazes you observe that their lives are not easy. They walk seven kilometers to school in one direction. The boys are studying to work in the cooling and refrigeration trade, while the older sister is studying to become a veterinarian. Thank God they are all healthy.
Here we have hardly any wifi signal. We only have weak reception by one window. We are essentially cut off from civilization – says mother Jasmina who joined our conversation.
The Djordjevićs live by two rivers. Recently someone wanted to construct a dam, but the residents of the village organized a protest and saved the river. Despite their poverty, these people have not lost their spirit and vision. It is time for us to give them our support..
The family was visited by members of the Charity organization Serbs for Serbs, which helps socially disadvantaged families with multiple members.
We came to this area which is home to some of the greatest heroes who fought in the wars of the 20th century. Soldiers recruited into the Iron Regiment are from here. Today this area is overrun with poverty. We will attempt to at least help some families, such as the Djordjevićs. We have seen for ourselves that despite their difficult lives, they remain an honest family – said Veljko Dobrilović, a member of the charity organization.
The Djordjević home is not worth repairing, with its earth and plank floors and load bearing beams on the verge of collapse. What is needed is to build a new home or purchase an existing one. We call on all donors to join us in this action!
Here is how you can donate: