Jefimija Children’s Home in Kruševac Empowering Our Youth
Though working with orphaned children and youth often comes with its fair share of challenges, no work is more rewarding. And no one knows the ups and downs of working in an orphanage better than Nataša Maksimović, the director at the Jefimija Children’s Home in Kruševac.
Balkan Children had the honor to visit Kruševac and Jefimija, where Nataša shared insights into just some of what the children at the orphanage are going through.
Consequences of COVID-19 still plainly evident
At Jefimija, there are currently 30 children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 26. While their lives are slowly returning to normal, Nataša shares that the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns are still plainly evident.
The quarantine has only further isolated the already marginalized groups that reside at the Children’s Home. Even older residents of the Home still struggle with overcoming anxiety and feelings of social isolation that came from it.
For groups that are already heavily ostracized, the quarantine only furthered the divide from the larger community.
Teaching children to overcome adversity is a top priority
Of course, it’s not only COVID-19 that’s affected life at Jefimija Children’s Home.
Being located at the very heart of Kruševac, Jefimija enables its residents to enjoy many of the benefits that come from it. Children and youth can easily mingle with the community, join cultural events, and spend quality time outside the Home.
However, the location at the city center also comes with its drawbacks. Residents at Jefimija are exposed to bad influences every time they leave the Home, making drug and alcohol abuse a serious issue.
Fortunately, the staff at Jefimija is devoted to helping children and young adults overcome adversity, and spreading awareness about the consequences of illicit substance abuse.
Preparation for the future starts from day one
Despite the issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the daily challenges the Home’s residents face, everyone at Jefimija still has a positive outlook and is preparing for a bright future.
The staff works diligently with residents, trying to help every child and young adult succeed in school and develop the skills needed for life and work outside the Home.
Though many students perform excellently in their classes, many still need help going through elementary and high school and ultimately graduating. The students who struggle receive daily assistance from the staff, whose goal is to equip everyone with the tools they need to complete their education and move on to better things.
From day one, the staff at Jefimija, alongside psychologists, guardians, and social services workers, works with every single resident, preparing them for the day when it’s time for them to leave the Home.
Jefimija can only house residents until they reach the age of 26. So, the staff tries their hardest to assist young adults in finding housing and employment once it’s time for them to leave.
Join the charity for Balkan Children in supporting Jefimija
The staff at Jefimija is committed to improving the overall quality of life of all its residents. Dedicated teams help children and young adults obtain education and develop the necessary skills that will provide them with a better life once they leave Home.
However, the staff always needs outside help and support to make Jefimija a more comfortable place.
Due to government aid and independent donors, Nataša could restore and renovate many parts of the orphanage, making it a more welcoming place. Still, continued support from donors is essential for ensuring a better environment for all users of the Home.
Encouraging kids to spend time at the playground is not only a fun activity for them but it also has numerous benefits for their physical and mental well-being. In today's digital era, where the use of screens is prevalent, it is vital to promote physical activity among children, and a playground is an excellent venue for this purpose.
Children often land up in orphanages due to numerous reasons, varying from one location to the other. While families of some struggle to cope to make ends meet, others often land up at orphanages due to cultural pressures, abuse, and negligence. Some families choose to abandon their children at unknown places to be rescued later. While others intentionally leave their children at the doorstep of orphanages to be adopted.
There’s a reason why they say that parenting is the most challenging job in the world. The parent’s task isn’t simply to ensure that the child is well-fed and has a place to sleep. It’s to meet all their physiological, social, mental, and emotional needs.
Unfortunately, though, when the role of a parent or guardian is out of the picture, things can take a dark turn.
Chores aren’t always fun, yet they are a necessary part of life, especially for children’s development. Parents play a crucial role in teaching children the value of cleaning. Participating in household chores at an early age can help build mastery, responsibility, and self-reliance — all of which can translate into other aspects of their lives, such as establishing good relationships and seeing academic success.
Join the family by subscribing to our newsletter and get instant access to news and updates on the children and ways you can support us.