Twenty Croatian families have opened their homes on Christmas and hosted a Christmas lunch for about 50 refugees, as part of the “Christmas Lunch with a Refugee” campaign, organized by the Jesuit Refugee Service. The goal was to encourage communication between local communities and individuals who are granted asylum or are seeking asylum in Croatia, reports Večernji List on December 26, 2016.
The “Christmas Lunch with a Refugee” campaign was presented on 2 December with a call to the Croatian society to open the doors of its homes to people who came to Croatia in search of safety and protection, said the Jesuit Refugee Service said in a statement.
The director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Tvrtko Baron pointed out that they received daily calls from Croatian families which wanted to take part in the campaign, and last week they organized a group meeting so that the families and their guests could meet.
“This initiative was a call for specific action – to open the doors to a refugee, to let a stranger in our home which we have created and which we share with the people we love. It is an act of hospitality, without hesitation, without asking for anything in return, in confidence against fear. That is how people behave when they listen to their hearts”, said Baron.
He called on everybody to continue building a welcoming society, society which will be open to all who are forced to flee persecution and war.
Sameer from Afghanistan, who currently resides at the Reception Centre for People Seeking International Protection in Zagreb, said that he and his brother had found new friends in the family who had invited them to the Christmas lunch. “When I left Afghanistan, I left behind my brothers, parents and friends, I left my life. I did not think I was going to find another life here again. Today, after a long time, I did not feel like a stranger”, said Sameer.
The “Christmas Lunch with a Refugee” initiative is part of the “Assistance to Beneficiaries of International Protection and People in Detention Center Ježevo” project, which is funded by the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.