Mikser House, Belgrade held a ceremony to officially mark the refugee centre’s anniversary, in which it screened the film “The Year full of hope”, displayed an exhibition of photographs by Marija Piroški depicting Miksalište’s “Year of Hope” and presented the results of the last year.
During this event it was pointed out that the center for refugees Refugee Aid Miksalište helped around 150 000 refugees,40 per cent of refugees from Afghanistan, 30 percent in Syria, 20 from Iraq and 10 percent from other countries. Miksalište has so far been blessed with the support of 1,300 volunteers who have come from all over the world, from Argentina to China and beyond.
Ivan Lalic, executive director of Mikser, said that the last year was the most important year in the life of those involved in which, with great support from the citizens of Belgrade and numerous partners in the spontaneous action of solidarity made the distribution and integration center, into a humanitarian institution which has so far assisted more than 150 000 refugees, with special emphasis on the care of women, young people and children.
UNHCR supports the cooperation between the Serbian government, civil society organizations, international organizations and numerous volunteers who, through their teamwork try to let refugees briefly forget the troubles from which they fled,
said High Commissioner of UNHCR in Serbia Hans Friedrich Schodder. Schodder added that a real breakthrough and success can be realized only when the state, civil society, ordinary people and international partners cooperate to discuss problems and find solutions.
The State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs NenadIvanišević affirmed that the Balkan route is not closed to refugees, that Serbia has a positive policy towards refugees, and that it wishes to help all those who come into the country.
Serbia will not change its policy.
Anyone who comes to Serbia will be accepted,
Ivanisevic said, adding that the issue of refugees should not in any way be allowed to be brought into connection with the issue of terrorism, because those who come through Serbia are mainly those in trouble, not those causing it.
Ivan Lalić finished the address by once again stressing that the sincere humanity, solidarity, empathy, and respect for diversity and responsibility to others are the values that all those involved have come to hold dear, and which have come to define all the people who have been a part of the past year in Miksalište.
We will continue to assist refugees and we hope that people will hear their voice, give them a hand of solidarity and fight together with them for their and our better future
– Ivan Lalić.
Miksalište is one of the initiators of an important segment of the concerns for support for the refugees beyond the classic forms of humanitarian help. With a view towards substantial and long-term support for the integration of refugees and other sensitive groups in our society, it launched a program of education for refugees, as well as numerous creative workshops which have contributes to the cultural exchange with the local population and the introduction of refugees to European society. In keeping with this, the guests at the party last night, in addition to state institutions, diplomatic corps and non-governmental organizations, were also refugees currently residing in Belgrade. Wishing to give back to Miksalište and to everyone who had helped them in Belgrade, some of the refugees performed a traditional Afghan dance to the delight of the crowd.
Miksalište has received three awards over the past year. The European Movement in Serbia and the European Movement International honored it for its Contribution to the Europe, while the second prize, the European Citizenship Award 2016, we received from VoluntEurope and the European Civic Forum with close to 5,000 online voters in the category of Social Campaign of the Year for the positive impact on the community, implementing in practice the values of European democracy. Ivan Lalić, CEO of Mixer, TajanaZadravec project manager of Miksalište and MarijaLaganin, communications manager for Miksalište also won the Fulbright “Trailblazers” award. The award was established with the aim of affirming the excellence in the development of science and research, advancing one’s profession or occupation, as well as promoting positive social change.
In addition to the dedicated Miksalište, assistance is currently provided in the center by the following organizations: Save the Children, the Foundation Ana and Vlade Divac, Medecins du Monde, CRS – Catholic Relief Services, Philanthropy, Caritas, Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre, UNICEF, Terre des Homes, Oxfam, CARE, Norwegian Refugee Council, Danish Refugee Council, Mercy Corps, UN Women, Lifegate Novi Sad, Jesuit Refugee Service, and the Praxis Group 484
At this point Miksalište Refugee Aid provides assistance to refugees in the form of health care, hygienic care, and distribution of new clothes and shoes. All our visitors are also provided with breakfast, cooked lunch, fruit and water. Every day we organize educational workshops for women, children and young teenagers and make available to them an IT corner. Mothers with babies have their own separate corner and the organization Save the Children takes care of small children in a specially equipped room run by their staff, and organize a number of activities that develop creativity, and provides the necessary psycho-social support.