Croatian Children in Migration and Return (5-12-090)

Timeline: 1991-1995

Head of the Project: Melita ŠVOB
Researchers: Josip ANIĆ, Carmen-Ljubica BRČIĆ, Tihomir DUMANČIĆ, Vlasta ĐURANOVIĆ, Josip GRGURIĆ, Pavao JONJIĆ, Sonja PODGORELEC, Jasenka ŠPREM

The research of migrant children in the Zagreb schools, aged 10-15 (and parents and teachers) enabled us to observe specific problems of returnee children from Germany, the children whose parents are abroad, the control group, and children in the supplementary school in Berlin as well. School, health, and psychosocial, as well as family problems of the children and the use of free time, were studied. The results of the research show that 68% of returnee children have problems with different methods of teaching and 65% have problems due to their insufficient knowledge of their mother tongue. This points at defaults of the supplementary school of that time that was also confirmed by the attitude of pupils in Berlin who had the biggest percent of negative attitude towards school. Pupils whose parents are abroad, albeit they did not change the school or environment, also have greater school problems than the control group. Great needs for organized aid for returnee children in schools were observed since such aid so far was not adequate. Forced migration caused by war circumstances in Croatia (1992/93) points our attention to the study of displaced and refugee children from BiH (mostly Moslems). Significant differences have been established between displaced and refugee children in their way of flight, accommodation, adaptation to new surroundings, health, schooling, and other characteristics. The children, their parents/tutors were surveyed, while the doctor’s pediatricians made health and anthropological examinations. Displaced children were much more exposed to direct dangers before their flight (while the refugees from BiH, anticipated risks, fled before it), their emotional troubles are more expressive, there is a greater percentage of malnourished children and their wish to return is more strongly expressed than by refugee children. A part of the research is included in the international project “Internationale Lernen” (Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Greece, and Croatia). A film, based on video record, was made and it was presented at scientific and expert meetings abroad.

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