Experiences from the Mother and Baby Corner, Belgrade

by Slavica Ranisavljev Kovačev
Novi Sad Humanitarian Center

Focus Summary

The Mother and Baby Corner (MBC) in Belgrade is run by Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre with the support from Terre des Hommes Foundation and Unicef. The aim of the MBC is to be a SAFE PLACE for mothers and their babies where they can provide care to themselves and their children in a comfortable environment. 

The Mother and Baby Corner (MBC) is important for refugees in transit. We offer them safe and private space, where mothers can breastfeed their babies, change diapers, give their baby a bath, get clean clothes, put her baby to sleep, … Also, mothers can rest, take care of themselves get psychological help and restore their strength. They can get information about legal procedures, accommodation in camps, referral to medical help, etc.

Key Insights

  • The Mother and Baby Corner (MBC) is place where refugee mothers stay very short, from few hours to few days. But, despite that, it is very important in proces of rehabilitation and integration.
  • We can consider assistance at MBC as a first step to empower mothers, build trust and show them they are supported and accepted.
  • This place is important for refugee mothers that are in camps near Belgrade. We built a relationship of trust with them and usually they come to the MBC once or twice a week.
  • In Mother and Baby Corner they can get informations, psychological help and participate in activities that lead to their integration. With our work we can provide support to the current and future rehabilitation and integration processes.

Key take-outs from the ISHHR 2017 Conference (industry feedback, networking, peer presentations)

Yes, after presentation we talk about importance of trust in work with refugee population, especially mothers. Also, it is mentioned how important is that the Mother and Baby Corner be near or in refugee camps, and available for all mothers.

Future goals — what’s next?

In future we are going to monitor and respond to current needs, that we see in work with refugee mothers and recording specific trends. We are going to think about different ways for including translators in our work (skype or some other online tool).

How can local / national / international media better assist in bringing the vital issues discussed at ISHHR 2017 to light, and further encourage real, positive change and understanding?

Media in Serbia work good in providing sensitive information about refugee crisis. In that way their work was very important in understanding needs of this people. We are hoping that they will continue to do in same way.