"For me the financial support was paramount, because otherwise I would have never been able to afford myself education, travelling or clothes. It means the world to me that someone remembered us in every decision we make."
Sporting Hearts was founded by Dungannon man, Eugene Hamill after witnessing at first hand the devastating effects of the Balkan wars on the young, elderly and ethnics minorities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Serbia. Back in our humble beginnings in 2004, Sporting Hearts first took a group of Kosovo refugee children from Resnik (With money raised from busking in shopping centres in Armagh and Antrim) on a day trip to Belgrade Zoo, with the ambitious hope that this simple gesture might open a window of opportunity through which the children might catch a glimmer of a brighter future! Since then, Sporting Hearts has thankfully been able to take hundreds of children on various outings and workshops, all with an underlying educational theme were the kids can learn and develop new skills, broaden their horizons, build confidence and self esteem while learning to respect each other’s differences in a fun, friendly and caring enviroment.
In 2014 Jasmina, one of the kids who came on our very first Sporting Hearts trip to the city zoo back in 2004 started University in Belgrade as a law student. We would like to wish her success in her studies and all the best in the future. One of our volunteers, Miroslav Starcavic will travel to Belgrade at the end of March. While there, he will present Jasmina with a new laptop on behalf of Sporting Hearts in recognition of her achievements.
Testimonie From Jasmina:
“Sporting Hearts has provided me with huge support, motivation and way better schooling conditions, thus enabling me so much better life. I would like to thank you for the trust you have in me, and your efforts and care.”
Our aim is simple “Give kids a break and lend them a helping hand on to the ladder of life.” Following the Balkan wars of the 1990’s Serbia (former Yugoslavia) is home to the largest population of Refugees and Internally Displace Persons (IDP’s) in Europe. Many of these Refugees are young children, the elderly and the infirm. Sporting Hearts was established for the relief of poverty, the advancement of education and to promote the preservation of health. We provide aid to people from the former Yugoslavia who are living as refugees, displaced persons, or those who have been ethnically prejudiced who are suffering from the effects of war or civil unrest or who are displaced as a result of these and to promote the benifit of people especially the young who have been disadvantaged through conflict or war or who have suffered as a result of ethnic or religious discrimination.
Sporting Hearts exists to give these kids a better chance at achieving their full protential in life and realizing their life ambitions
In 2010 we began an educational programme with a small group of Roma children from the Kotaz area of Belgrade. The programme was designed to foster and encourage the kids through primary and middle school in the hope that they might follow their ambitions and dreams of finding work or going on to further their education at University; ambitions which they have often have to forgo due to cultural, economic or social reasons. Our programme provides the children with school books, transport, tuition fees, school clothes, pocket money and emotional support which is aimed at enabling them to engage fully with the educational system and realize their ambitions, hopes and dreams and create a better future for all!