A lot has happened to our Serbian partners since they joined our Development Programme - not only did they help us organise the second FSCI Network Conference in Belgrade in March, they also celebrated their third birthday as an NGO during the conference. Their greatest joy was that the majority of young people they have helped during these past three yearswere able to join in the celebrations.
The day before the conference, the official opening of the House of Opportunity in Belgrade was held. Representatives from governmental and non-governmental services, FSCI Network Conference participants from many different Balkan countries, as well as friends and supporters of Center Star attended the event. Even a TV crew was present and a short clip aired on Serbian TV.
The next big event was the “Ballet Magnificat”, a show performed by a professional American ballet company in Belgrade on 9 May and supported by the US Embassy. The proceeds of the ticket sales went to Center Star for their House of Opportunity Programme. As a consequence, the team of House of Opportunity Belgrade had the opportunity to meet the speaker of the national assembly and present the project, and one of the residents in the observed home shared his life story and how the programme is helping him to finish college and prepare for independent living. Afterwards, they visited the royal family in their residence and met representatives of the princess’s Foundation which helps children without parental care, among other things.
Since the House of Opportunity in Belgrade is going well, Center Star is preparing to open a network of Houses across the country. Plans to open a House in Niš (south of Serbia) are underway, and Tanya had a very encouraging time there recently meeting prospective staff.
Other news from the FSCI Development Programme
Two more organisations have recently signed up to our FSCI Development Programme: Nada zaŽivot is planning to open a House of Opportunity in Čakovec, Croatia, in July 2016. They have found an apartment and have most of the staff in place. The regional and city municipality have promised to pay for the rent and the utility bills for the HOP, which is very encouraging. Roots Research Center, Greece plan to set up a specialist day centre in Athens for young people coming out of care.