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Educating Refugees at the Workshop

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In April of 2017, North Star and Refugee Aid Serbia came together to create 'the Workshop'. Our goal was to create a safe space for refugees in Belgrade to come for educational and recreational activities. In the past year with the help of generous donations and volunteer help, we have been able to develop an English, German, Serbian and Math curriculum for our students, as well as offer various recreational activities for our students throughout the week. 

We'd like to start by telling you a story about one of our students at the Workshop:

We’ve known Mustafa for over a year now. He started coming to see us with his older brother in the winter months, and when we opened our center in April of 2017 he came every day on his own. Mustafa made himself right at home in ‘The Workshop’.

When we first started teaching Mustafa he used to attend classes with all the older boys, the only 11-year-old in a class of 20-somethings. He was ready to learn. Soon, we started teaching Mustafa on his own. He was a little shy at first, but every day he began to open up more and more. It all began with reading books. Volunteers would sit on the bean bags and read for hours with Mustafa. Books about the world, cricket, chapter books… Each evening he took a book back to the camp, and the next day he would return it and take a new one. We received reports from his friends that he would read the books every night and receive help from the older boys with the words he didn’t know. Mustafa now has near perfect pronunciation and has a reading list two pages long on our reading club wall.

Mustafa is in Serbian school now. His English is constantly improving, as is his Serbian. He still comes to visit us as much as he can to attend workshops, read books and decorate the workshop with his spiderman drawings. His confidence has rocketed and he’s happy to speak to anyone, offering to make tea to the newcomers, as well as to the staff. He’s even brought a few Serbian friends with him. When we asked him what he liked most about The Workshop, he said, ‘It’s like family here.’

Today, the Workshop serves roughly 25 refugees daily, providing English, Serbian, German, French, Math, Science and Art classes. The age of students ranges from 4 years old to 30 years old. Many students and volunteer teachers have come and gone since opening last April, but we are always ready to provide the best help we can to those who walk in the door. If that creates a family atmosphere, then we hope we’re doing something right.

The goal of this crowdfunding campaign is to continue raising funds to keep the doors to the Workshop throughout 2019. We currently have enough funding to keep us going until March 31, 2019.  Within this education center, we provide Belgrade based refugees with a safe space for well-being and educational development. 

All proceeds will go towards the daily costs of operating the Workshop. 

Thank you for your support!

To find out more information about the Workshop please see the links below:


Jessica Collins

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