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While he was living in Afghanistan, Azizahmad Zamir used to be an actor, making appearances in TV movies. As the political situation in his country was becoming more and more unstable, in September 2015 he decided to move to London, where his relative was living. He thought it would take him three months to get there, but, due to the closed borders, he had to stay in Serbia. There, he settled in the Reception Center in Adeševci, village in the North-Western part of Serbia. While finding ways to pass the time there, he started teaching English language to refugee children and helping as an interpreter in facilitating communication between refugees and Commissariat for Refugees and Migrants. Even though he was more than 60 years old, he was happy to learn some new skills himself.

I attended courses in painting works and sewing and found them very useful, as they helped me develop new skills, gain new experience and pass the time in a quality way. I believe these skills will also make it easier for me to find a job once I leave the center. I discovered that I enjoy sewing very much and I look forward to every opportunity to practice it“, Azizahmad talks about his days in the center. „Since I’ve came here, I’ve met other refugees, made new friendships and learned a thing or two about Serbian culture“, he adds.

Azizahmad is one of the 280 migrants who are settled at the Reception Center in Adeševci, most of them coming from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Being held back on their journey towards their desired destinations, it is important to them to have interesting everyday activities, as these occupations make them feel like they are not wasting time. On the contrary, they feel like these activities prepare them for the future work market. Humanitarian Center Novi Sad, NGO from Novi Sad, quickly realized their need for quality ways to spend time and organized various courses for them, within the project Empowering and Social Inclusion of Refugees and Migrants in Serbia, which was supported by GIZ.

Besides painting works and sewing courses that Azizahmad attended, the beneficiaries also had the opportunity to learn how to make jewelry, as well as to find out more about recycling and Europe. In another Reception Center in Principovac, sports activities were organized, such as table tennis, badminton, volleyball, as well as arranging the sport filed and the center’s backyard. One of the most useful activities were German language courses, since many beneficiaries want to go to Germany once they leave the center.

The beneficieries were eager to take part in these courses, since there aren’t many similar activities in the reception centers. The opportunity to learn new skills and develop their talents makes them feel useful and well prepared for the uncertain future that awaits them once they reach their desired country”, explained Mira Novaković Ilin, the representative of Humanitarian Center Novi Sad.

About the measure:

Since July 2017, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been implementing the measure “Advice and Support to Asylum Seekers in Serbia and Macedonia“ on behalf of German Development Cooperation. The measure relies on the intensified need to provide asylum seekers with access to adequate information and support through the transit period, as well as mechanisms for potential integration. Bearing such context in mind, the main objective of the measure is to contribute to improving the position and prospects of asylum seekers placed in reception centres, providing support to implementation of specific, needs-oriented and adequate measures supporting integration.

Contact person: Mr. Michael Samec

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