FROM THE FIELD: Working with refugees in the Balkans during Covid-19

Interview with Bruno Morán, a volunteer from the organization No Name Kitchen

 “…they have much more control over them and they are not seen on the street and that’s mainly why they have the camps, so they are not visible and they don’t have to deal with them. Probably corona is something interesting for them because they are not visible they are even more isolated than before…” Bruno is referring to the situation in Serbia and government attitude towards people on the move, who are now even more hidden and invisible.

The situation of people on the move changed during Covid-19. Many media in some ways forgot to cover refugee stories in the Balkans and in other countries. There were also many fake news and disinformation. Covid-19 did not just stop ordinary life in different countries but it also stopped the operation of NGOs working and helping in refugee camps in the Balkans.

“….what is causing in the end the fights and things like that is food. And when you see that someone that is running a camp is desperate asking for NGOs that they need food somehow, because people are fighting at night, because there is not enough food, it’s clearly a sign that probably this is the biggest concern…”

Therefore, we decided to report about the somehow forgotten people on the move in the Balkans through an interview with Bruno Morán. Bruno talked with us from Spain and right now only one volunteer from their organisation No Name Kitchen is present in Belgrade, collecting information about the situation in the camps.

No Name Kitchen is present in Belgrade, collecting information about the situation in the camps (Šid, 2017, author’s personal archive).

Bruno comes from Asturias, Spain, by profession he’s a flight attendant and is the co-founder of No Name Kitchen (NNK). No Name Kitchen is an NGO founded by volunteers that helps refugees in transit in Bosnia and Serbia and it was established in 2017. No Name Kitchen provides food, basic necessities, sleeping bags and a community space for people on the move.

Additionally, No Name Kitchen monitors the situation of refugees and helps those who have been pushed back from the border and experienced violations from the police. They see wounds, sprains, broken bones on a daily basis and also volunteers publish a monthly report on the situation with the testimonies of victims of abuse.

 “Even during corona time all of them most of them they are in the camps and they are less visible to the population.”

Bruno talked about the current situation in the Balkans and on the borders, the response of the European Union and about the main challenges refugees and their organisation are facing.  

“…you can go to bed dirty and if your stomach is full it’s more or less alright, but if you go to bed hungry it is a concern…”

See full interview below:

Bruno thank you and see you soon on the field.

Written by Anja Zafošnik

One thought on “FROM THE FIELD: Working with refugees in the Balkans during Covid-19

  1. Fips May 6, 2020 / 10:11 am

    Zelo zanimiv intervju, mi je odprl oči in sedaj povsem drugače gledam na situacijo. Kar tako naprej!


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