Program hospitality children in Greek families
The Red Cross of Serbia from 1993 to 2011 in cooperation with the Hellenic Red Cross organized hospitality children in the Greek families. The Program was included children who were lost their parents in the war, refuges, displace person, children in host families, children of missing person and kidnapped in Kosovo and Metohija and children from socially vulnerable families grows to 8 to 16 years old. Program hospitality children development through various stages: from a six-month stay in the Greek families until accommodation during the Christmas and New year holidays, Easter and summer holidays. More than 18.000 children were including during 18 years of the program. The children were from Republic of Serbia, Republika Srpska , Montenegro and Republika Srpska Krajna.
The first program hospitality children in Greek families was during the summer of 1993. The 40 children from the orphanage home "Rada Vranješević"in Banja Luka with the escorts of the Red Cross of Serbia spent a mouth as guests in the families on the island Kos. After that experience, the Union of Greek Cities and Municipalities (KEDKE) initiated a meeting initiative to the capitals towns of Europe in Strasbourg that children from war affected areas of the former Yugoslavia be accept the families and to facilitate their safe childhood and regular attendance in the schools. The Mayor of Athens remained lonely and this idea, but he extended an invitation to the Mayor of Belgrade to carry out this program.
The first group of children who were sent on a six-month hospitality program consisted of 520 children placed in 28 cities of Greece and it started on February 1994 .The children were from II to IV grade primary school . The program was organized by Yugoslav Red Cross. The Red Cross of Serbia from the very beginning was realize the program with support of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia, the Commissariat for Refugees of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of health of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs .From the Greek side there were KEDKE, Hellenic Red Cross, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. The school classes are numbered 20 children and one teachers who performed a combined teaching the curriculum of the ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia .This six-month program of education and residence of children in Greek families organized three times. In 1995, after the "Storm “in August program has included over the 1100 children in 50 cities across Greece and 2 towns on Cyprus. During the six-month program the Red Cross of Serbia also organized hospitality children in families during Christmas, Ester and summer holidays. The children were always accommodations in the Greek host families who have children same age and gender. With the group of the children always were escorts, the volunteers of the Red Cross of Serbia who are pedagogues, sociologists, psychologists, doctors, etc. The coordinators of the program were volunteers and the staff of the Red Cross of Serbia.
Since Christmas 1997, the program co-ordination with the Greek side takes the Hellenic Red Cross, and from our side is to continue the Red Cross of Serbia .The six-month program in Greek families passes and recover children who are organized three times per year. Program was including children who was already hosted by the Greek families and children who are the first time included in the program. After bombing Serbia in 1999 the largest number of children who are going in Greece were from Republic of Serbia The last group of children was organized in summer 2011. The Hellenic Red Cross is no longer able, due to economic crisis that has struck them, to organize the program hospitality children in Greek families.
The recovery program of children in Greek families organized by the Red Cross of Serbia and the Hellenic Red Cross is a unique experience cooperation between the two national societies. Greek families and children have remained friends, almost family. The program is accompanied by an extraordinary media campaign, especially in Greece, and were filmed two documentaries movies “Century for the future" and "House of warm soul" The first .movie worked by "Filmske novosti" and a second one by documentary program Radio TV Serbia. Film "House of warm soul" is shown on the Yugoslav documentary film festival in 2000 and at the International Festival of the documentary in Thessaloniki next year.