Transcript of the presentation by Igor Mitrović at the 41st Belgrade Ignite “Get Involved no. 6” (7 November 2018, Impact Hub, Belgrade)
This evening I will tell you about houses and homes. (…) Having one’s own living space is good, but consciously or subconsciously we know it is not enough. A living space is nothing but a precondition, a kind of shell, an environment seeking to be filled with the right stuff, awaiting a miracle – the miracle of home. Home is but a life where you are lucky to be with the person or persons with whom you feel “at home”: accepted, accepting, without the need to pretend, feeling empowered, feeling that none of your dreams are impossible, because those people are there. You feel as if you were at the fountain of life, on a tiny sun of your own, keeping you warm.
A house, simply put, is not enough. We are looking for a home. (…)
Now, imagine people who do not even have a house, who do not even have this basic living space that we take for granted. Five thousand of them live like that in Belgrade. Five thousand people! Those are the ones sleeping in doorways and pressed against the wall as we step around them in the passage under Terazije. Even more of them huddling in abandoned buildings, ruined factories… They may have a roof and four walls, but that is all they have – no electricity, no water, no safety, no warmth.
I used to wonder – man, how did these five thousand end up in the street? Well, now, how did they end up in the street – it is much easier for a person to end up in the street than we think. Imagine, for example, going to school, having a family, having a job, a rented apartment. You lose your job, fail to make ends meet, you fall into a crisis, lose your family, lose your place – voilà, you are on the street! Or you are a child, a young person, 18 years of age, spending your entire life without parents, the state taking care of you. You come of age, you leave the institutions… it is so easy for things not to come out right. Or, for example, you are a person with psycho-social issues, without support (not a rare thing), and without the resources to make your way… Or you are simply a person who has made too many dumb moves in your life… Or even more frequently, all these elements, mixed up in a hellish tragedy where you can’t even tell what is whose fault.
Anyway, you find yourself in the street, and once that happens, after a while, you accept it as your choice, because we, people, even in chaotic situations, tend to proclaim them to be our choice. This makes it easier to survive, it is a completely human thing to do. However, whether we call it a choice or not, whether we turn this into an illusion of victory and claim that we control our life or not, the fact remains that our human nature crumbles in this way of life, our dignity is eroded, our hope departs – because this is not a humane life, intended for human beings.
This is why a group of people in the ADRA Srbija organization has started DrumoDom, an adapted bus visiting locations where these people reside and offering them the opportunity to take a shower, to use a proper toilet, to get a haircut, to talk to those that can talk and are not in any hurry while talking or listening to someone. Perhaps a small miracle may occur: that strength, hope and vision are awakened in these people to return to a life worthy of human beings, the power to fight, to struggle for a job and the life they dream about, yet repress. Perhaps they even manage to fight for a roof over their heads. DrumoDom is another name for human support. When there is support, dignity and hope return. And when they are there – opportunities and chances also return. (…)
The text in its entirety can be found here.
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