Save the Children has been awarded £500,000 by the People’s Postcode Lottery to support its work with child refugees in Serbia.
With snow, plummeting temperatures and more harsh winter weather forecast the charity is working hard to provide spaces for children to get essential food and other items as well as some time out to reflect on their journey and be informed about their rights and the risks they may face.
The charity has reached over 30,000 children to date through its main centres in Belgrade and Presevo with nearly 5,000 of these children were travelling entirely unaccompanied.
Despite official border closures and the EU Turkey deal in March 2016 the flow of refugees has not stopped and reports say it has in fact only led to heighten the vulnerability of those on the move, as more are smuggled or trafficked over borders.
Kevin Watkins, Save the Children chief executive, said: “As 2017 begins, we’re entering another year of a protracted and distressing refugee crisis.
“Across Europe and the Middle East, thousands of children are fleeing for their lives and many are making their dangerous journeys alone and unaccompanied.
“We’re delighted to be receiving this vital funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and would like to thank them all for their generous support for children.”
Increasingly, children are travelling through Serbia and many are unable to leave the country to continue their journeys across Europe.
Since 2015, over a million refugees have entered the country, which does not have the resources or services to cope.
Many children are staying outdoors, especially around the Bristol Park in Belgrade and extreme winter conditions now pose an additional and urgent concern.
Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, added: “We are proud that our players are able to support the provision of child friendly spaces for children in Serbia.
“Players have raised over £168 million for good causes across Great Britain and internationally and I am thrilled that players of People’s Postcode Lottery can help Save the Children with this initiative.”