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Confession of young girl from Afghanistan: I have found consolation in Serbia

Novosti, 4.1.2013.

When smugglers separated her from family, Makai suddenly found herself in Serbia. She learned Serbian, helped in translation and gained new friends.

ispovest avganistanke
Afghan family in Germany

Far away from home, and less away from Serbia, Makai is now with her family in Ebersbergy in Germany. For more than a year she had the shelter and consolation in Serbia. All that time she was affraid that she would never see her parents and sisters again.
Makai is a eleven-year-old girl from Afghanistan. According to schedule, she is answering the phone at the office of the German organization that helps people who are just like her far away from home.
She speaks excellent Serbian. She learned it in only 13 months she spent in Serbia.

- When the police stopped the bus in which we were, I did not know a word of your language, nor where I am - says Makai. - With me was a 10-year-old boy from Afghanistan who spoke English. He explained the police officers who we were and where we were coming from.
Her family members were sitting around her while we spoke, but none of them wanted to tell the reasons they left the homecountry. They still live in fear. The only thing they are saying is that they have constantly been faced with the death.
One midsummer night 2011 her parents have taken Makai and her three sisters and set off to Europe. The whole time children were given tranquilizers, so that they would not cry. To make them easier to smuggle, one day smugglers decided to separate them.
As they told us at the Centre for the Protection of victims of trafficking, the family of young Afghan girl was planning to send her from Greece to Germany to live with her aunt. They found a man who was supposed to organize all that, but something went wrong. At the end Makai found herself in group with one boy and a women from Poland who should have transport them over the border. No one knows if she had really done so.

Working with police – The little girl has learned Serbian very fast which became useful. Since most of illegal migrants came from Afghanistan, she helped as a translator. None in the group of illegal migrants understood English or Serbian, so Makai has become the perfect assistant.
- We are glad to hear that her story is happily ended, but if she had stayed in Serbia, she would have been a perfect police assistant - said Mitar Djurašković, chief of Department for Combating Transborder Crime and Criminal Intelligence.
It turned out that when the police caught them, that was the best thing that could ever happen to her. A Polish women could not explain to the police what she was doing with two Afghan children so the police immediately suspected it was a human trafficking.
Next four month Makai spent in the safe house in Novi Sad.

According to Sonja Savić, an associate of the Centre for the Protection of victims of trafficking, many NGOs were involved in working with boy and girl from Afghanistan. – Immediately, we provided them accommodation and documents so they had right for health care - explains Sonja Savić. - We did not want to separate them, because at that time they just knew each other. Slowly, they become closer with the people around them and the girl begun learning Serbian.

The rest of her family was in Turkey, anxiously waiting for news from her.

- Makai is in Serbia, we heard- says mother Layla.M

Family soon gathered in Germany, but they had to wait Makai to arrive for a few more months. Finaly, at the end of the last year, they all met in Munich airport. But their drama is not over yet. Lejla and her children got a permission to stay in Germany, but the father is still waiting for a decision on the asylum application. Whatever happens, they decided not to allow anyone to separate them ever again.

She misses her friends - It was hard. They kept saying that they would find my parents, but I was afraid that it will never happen - she recalls. But soon I became friends with women who was taking care of me. One of them taught me Serbian. They took me on trips. We went to Belgrade Zoo. I miss them...

V. Mijatović- N.M. Nedeljković- 03.01.2013.

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