International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Issam Delwan, translator, Croatian Red Cross
I might have a smile on my face but my heart is bleeding.
My name is Issam Delwan. I am a translator for the Croatian Red Cross at Slavonski Brod transit camp. I escaped from Syria three years ago, when everything went wrong in my hometown of Duma. I managed to get to Croatia, where I sought asylum. I was working in Zagreb, in a medical company, when this refugee crisis started. I left that and wanted to help these people fleeing away from war. Croatian Red Cross needed translators and I joined their operation.
It has been hard to meet traumatised own countrymen and others. But it was even more dramatic, when my younger brother was suddenly standing among the refugees at the Serbian Croatian border.
He had managed to get out from Duma and further to Turkey and from there to Greece by boat.
This work with the Red Cross is something I want to do to help these people. It is hard. I might have a smile on my face but my heart is bleeding.
Tadej Petric, Volunteer, Croatian Red Cross
My mission is to work for people and help them. Red Cross is an essential part of my life.
I am Tadej Petric, 22 years old and first time working with the refugees! Actually, I didn’t know anything about this refugee crisis at the end of the summer. I have studied here in Slabonski Brod and got a diploma from a school which qualifies me to work with people who have some mental health problems.
I couldn’t find that kind of job, so I have spent summer in the Adriatic, in Korcula island working as a waiter in a restaurant. In the autumn when I came back home, Croatian Red Cross was looking for volunteers for the refugee transit centre. I knew Red Cross quite well because I have been a Red Cross youth volunteer for six years.
I contacted them and got the training and now I have been here. In the beginning I has a little bit nervous, because I did not have any experience with refugee problems, but the training was good and every day I have learned more. Several thousand people are every day passing true Croatia every day. Only few need some special assistance, but things might change. This government camp is now for 5000 people, but we have only few staying in the tents.
My mission for life is to work for people and help them. Red Cross has been, and will be in the future too, essential part on me and my life.
Ana Meter, Volunteer, Croatian Red Cross
For me it has been hard to see and hear, how many people have had before the war a very good and decent life.
I am Ana Meter and I am a Red Cross volunteer and work now in the Croatian Red Cross tracing services. We have been lucky to reunite people who have got lost from their families while traveling from Greece to Germany. People stay here in Slavonski Brod camp only few hour for the registration, so we seldom can help them, if some relative has already been missing for example in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Cooperation with our neighbours, Serbia and Slovenia, has been excellent and we keep daily contacts with them. I have seen a lot of people who really are in need and we try to help them as much as possible.
For me it has been hard to see and hear, how many people have had before the war a very good and decent life. Now they have only few plastic bags with them. Everything has gone.
Volunteers on the frontlines
Vesna Krivosic, Head Tracing Services, Croatian Red Cross
People are normally transported so fast further that we have not time to talk to the refugees and help them with all problems with missing people.
I am Vesna Krivosic, head for Croatian Red Cross tracing services. I work every second week here in Slavonski Brod and every second at the headquarters in Zagreb. Our tracing service has been able to help 20-30 people during the weeks since mid-September.
People are normally transported so fast further that we have not time to talk to the refugees and help them with all problems with missing people. But we have been lucky to solve some acute cases. Like one Somali family, who lost two of their children in September in Serbia.
That time transportation of people was not so well organised as it is now. The family was travelling by buss and parents were totally exhausted. They were sleeping, and when the bus stopped at one gasoline station somewhere in Serbia, two boys went out to toilet and buss continues before they came out.
Parents woke up at the Serbian Croatian border, and realised that boys are missing. They didn’t speak any English, bus driver didn’t understand what they were screaming for. No one knew when the boys went out and where!
It took several days to work with Serbian Red Cross, before we got information from Serbian authorities, that they had two Somali boys, aged six to eight the custody and no one new, where their parents or relatives were. Finally, after hard work we were able to reunite the family.