Last week in Zagreb the Jesuit Refugee Service encouraged and organized a meeting of refugees from Syria who are building their new life in Croatia. The motive for this gathering was to make connections between people coming from Syria so they could get to know each other and exchange experiences and stories from their everyday life in Croatia. The meeting was attended by 45 Syrian families who received asylum in Croatia, 15 people relocated from Greece and some 20 JRS volunteers working with these families on a daily basis.
Accompanied by Syrian songs and men dancing, classic Syrian dishes were prepared in order to facilitate talking about the future in Croatia and what was awaits. “Discussions on how to see a good doctor or finding a job as soon as possible are important in supporting our integration. To have someone whom you can talk with openly about your fears, someone who has gone through the same thing and who tells me “it will be all right” is extremely important. Thank you to JRS Croatia for bringing us together and accompanying us in our integration.” – is a message from Basel, a refugee from Syria.
“Of the 313 people in the Republic of Croatia who have received international protection, 80 are from Syria, which is a large number and we are working to provide them with systematic support. Our mission is to accompany refugees and to keep in touch with them. This encounter is a realistic example that we are really doing that. When a person gets asylum in Croatia, through the integration program we accompany him or her and stand by them for all the rest. They have JRS for support and for friendship.” Said Dražen Klarić, JRS Head of Office in Croatia.
The gathering was also complemented by volunteers who pay almost daily visits to refugees and teach them Croatian language. They also help in dealing with bureaucratic matters and work with their children on school assignments.
The most important part of integration is the will. On the one hand, the will of a person to learn and work in a new environment, and on the other hand, the will of the system to recognize the need and enable the realization of refugee’s rights. It is this kind of gatherings that are ideal for openly talking about everything and for providing a place to people who have received international protection in Croatia where they have the opportunity to share their experiences of integration with others.