On the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I, on Sunday, November 11, the Vienna Cardinal Mons. Christoph Schönborn visited the Obrenovac Refugee center, accompanied by the Belgrade Archbishop Mons. Stanislav Hočevar, Commissar for Refugees of Serbia Vladimir Cucic, Director of Caritas of Serbia Rev. Ivica Damjanovic, as well as Caritas staff from Serbia and Austria. On this occasion, Cardinal Schönborn became acquainted with the activities of Caritas in this center, which currently houses about 670 refugees and migrants, mainly men. Thanks to the support of Caritas Austria, local Caritas has launched innovative services in this center, which represent an important part of everyday life of refugees.
One of them is the laundry service, with professional washing and drying machines, in which refugees have the opportunity to quickly wash and dry their laundry. In addition, Caritas is organizing occupational and sports activities, such as a gym, which was opened at this center last year, so that refugees could free themselves from negative energies, fears and tensions and turn them into positive energy. Refugees have at their disposal Caritas’ animators, who help them train, promote positive values and sports spirit. Caritas also opened a carpentry workshop, which provides migrants with the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills, as well as to perform small repairs within the reception center.
Cardinal Schönborn is visiting Serbia in order to send a message of peace, exactly in the region where the First World War began, due to tensions between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. The region of the Balkans experienced great suffering during the Second World War, as well as during the 1990s. Providing assistance to refugees and migrants arriving from the war-affected territories today is another way of working on building peace in the world.