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.
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