2022 Assembly


Reflection from a Refugee Camp in Dobova, Slovenia


Over the Christmas period of 2015, RENATE member, Bohdana Bezáková, CJ, worked as a volunteer, helping refugees on the Croatian-Slovenian border at the railway station in Dobova town. Because most people preferred to spend Christmas with their families, there was a shortage of people willing to help refugees. Bohdana shares her thoughts and experiences in the following article, where she writes about the challenge as a religious sister, to live a ‘real’ Christmas and assist the ‘fleeing Holy Family’.
Reflection from a Refugee Camp in Dobova, Slovenia by Sr. Andrea Bezáková
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Christmas on the Croatian-Slovenian Border, at one of the Camps for Refugees


Andrea Bezáková (Bohdana) RENATE member, spent her Christmas volunteering with others at the refugee camp in Dobova, on the Croatian-Slovenian border, approximately 18 km from the town of Zaprešić, Croatia. She sent the following account of her experiences, from the 23rd to the 30th of December, 2015.
“It is very powerful here! Everynight, two thousand refugees arrive by train, mainly children and pregnant women. All are exhausted from travelling. Without access to life’s necessities, it has been a month or more since some of them had a shower. At the camp, everything is well organised, with good use being made of the funding allocated by Germany to assist the refugees in camps.
At night it was freezing. People had to queue for three hours twice; once to register at the police station and twice, to register in the camp. People are disciplined. The majority are coming from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Many are well educated and include professional doctors, pharmacists, economists, electrical engineers and architects. The younger ones can speak English. Although the camp is just provisional and not the most comfortable, the refugees get what they need.
Many organisations work together here. It is necessary to pray for them. It is a very hard situation, knowing what the refugees had to go through. Some of them need medical help, especially the children.
I am glad to be here at the camp, especially at Christmas time as for me, this is a very authentic witness of Christmas and is an emotionally very strong experience. We are preparing food packets to help build up people’s strength and we distribute blankets, as most are not accustomed to the frost and freezing temperatures.
It has been a blessed Christmas!
Adapted and amended by Anne Kelleher, Communications Person