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Silvana Levajkovska

As if I had known them my entire life...

Reading the articles on the First Children’s Embassy in the World has returned me to the past which I don’t want to be repeated ever again. In April 1992 I heard the appeal on TV and on the Macedonian radio from Gordana Zmijanac on the issue of accepting children from Sarajevo. At that moment, I remembered the address and the telephone number. A desire to take a child into foster care has awoken in me. I rang for a while, but the line was busy.
The next morning I went to their home in Gjorce Petrov. Mr. Zmijanac was at home and he could not step aside from the telephone that wouldn’t stop ringing. His children were getting ready for school and they wanted to grab a bite. After I introduced myself, I told him that I could stay a couple of hours and help and in the meantime, he could take care of the children and get some rest. After a few days, I was informed that the children will be settled in camps.
I  was working at the Primary school “Boris Kidric” - Saraj at the time, and the camp Chichino selo where a lot of people from Bosnia and Herzegovina with their children were placed was in the neighborhood. These children were supposed to go to school. The State has provided them with a teacher that spoke their native language, but after listening to them and observing the behavior which reflected the camp situation, we included the children into regular school classes among the rest of the children. We cultivated their native language. My activities in the First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi continued further – I became the school coordinator. I took in plenty of children as members (both from Bosnia and Herzegovina and regular pupils) regardless of their religious orientation and I included them into the activities that the Embassy was conducting. Every time I needed something done, Gorde and Dragi were there. (work supplies, social workers, forums, meetings, school visits, camp visits).

 Life  went one. Megjashi continued walking its difficult path despite the many obstacles in their work. Some of the pupils from Bosnia and Herzegovina I was teaching (I have never called them fugitives, I still can’t do that) stayed here, and some left for other countries. I can’t forget the moments when I was going to the camp for a birthday, their life stories.. As long as I live, I shall remember Senad who wasn’t placed in the camp but was staying with his parents in a small cottage. When I visited him at his home, he told me he would very much like to have a ball like the one he left behind in Bosnia in a hurry kissing the wall of the house, and now he can’t afford one. As I was leaving, I left some money for a ball. The next day, he brought the ball to school and he didn’t separate from it. After few years spent in Skopje, they were supposed to return to Bosnia. Until today, I cannot forget the image of us all crying together at the school certificates awarding ceremony. Senad held me tight around my waist and while weeping, he told me to come to Bosnia with him.

 Then  a time came when I periodically got involved in Megjashi’s activities. Together we organized a forum on the Nobel Prize winner Mother Teresa at KIC, we collaborated with CRS on certain projects (cooperation with the parents), etc. Every time I approached Gorde and Dragi with an idea, they were open to collaboration, and this remains the same. I keep track of their development and their activities concerning various child protection issues.

You  are a support to all children (not only to the ones that have problems) and to us, the adults. All of these years you have been among us and I thank you that you exist in our small Macedonia. I believed and I still believe in you, so continue your mission!

Gordana and Dragi, every time we meet I have a feeling as if I have known you my entire life!!!