Serbia: ADRA Provides Safety Through Housing

Snezana’s marriage began as something out of a fairy tale. She was young and beautiful; he was older, hardworking, and devoted. Her family disapproved of the union, but the two were in love. She gave birth to two children and stayed home to raise them. He worked even harder to provide for his family.

Conflict in Bosnia soon forced the family to relocate to Kragujevac, a small city in Serbia. Snezana and her family went from having financial security to being destitute in a matter of weeks. Eventually, both Snezana and her husband managed to find jobs and slowly began to rebuild their lives.

But something had changed in her husband. Since resettling in Serbia, he was increasingly volatile, picking fights with Snezana and becoming jealous and emotionally abusive.

As the days passed, his jealousy grew, until one day he simply refused to let her or their 16-year-old daughter out of the apartment. He locked the door as she was preparing to leave for work and bullied Snezana and their daughter into the bedroom as he threatened them with an ax.

For 36 hours, the mother and daughter were hostages in their own home, but Snezana came up with a plan that sent her husband out of the house. She broke a window and escaped while he was away, so he was greeted by police when he returned.

Snezana and her daughter, along with her other child, finally found peace of mind in an ADRA safe house. Along with safety and comfort, these refuges for vulnerable women and their children provide counseling, training, and legal support.

Snezana and her children lived in the ADRA safe house for the three months it took to charge her husband, who was eventually placed in a psychiatric prison.

Snezana now has a good job at a restaurant and is able to provide for her children. She occasionally stops by the ADRA safe house to greet her friends and to thank them for helping her and her family. “We now have peace,” Snezana says. “We are living modestly and trying to forget that horrible event, but we at least have peace.”

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About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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