What do you do when you can’t get into the Children’s Home, but still want to try and bring some Christmas cheer??

Yes, due to Covid restrictions, unfortunately I, with my army of local volunteers, am still not able to run any workshops for the Children at the Children’s Home. We normally run weekly fun and educational workshops for the children, and they only let 3 of us in to run one in October before restrictions came in again.

Also, this year is the first year many of the children will still be here for Christmas. They normally go to Italy and spend time with families there through another organisation, but of course, this year it is not possible. I asked them what we could be doing for them to help them at this time. They asked if we would help them get Christmas trees and decorations for each of the family units… and so a plan formed.

My volunteers and I got together and made up some Christmas decoration crafts for the staff at the home to do with the kids, so instead of buying decorations, they could have fun making them. We gave them all the materials ready to cut up and stick together. The teacher/carer who runs the creative workshops at the home was so excited to get everything already sorted out!  

We also decided to collect some money together, and we raised enough to give them a new BIG tree for the entrance hall! The last one had already lasted 10 years, and so hopefully this one will last even longer! They had great fun when they got together to put the decorations (some we gave, some they had) on the tree.  

And then the next day the staff ran a workshop with our crafts which the children really enjoyed!

So they then added the handmade decorations onto the main tree (below) and also on the smaller trees (we had some donations of trees which we passed along!) in each of the 8 family units.

They also asked us if we could help out in another way- for winter, they need hand cream and lip balm for the kids. As all of our local volunteers have been so disappointed that they couldn’t get in to see the kids, we asked our volunteers to participate in this collection as well and they came through BIG time. 

The 7 kids in the nursery got special toys and gifts. And we managed to get one hand cream and lip balm for each the 69 older children. We wrapped them each as a present, and then organised them into a bag for each of the family units and then also some cookies them to share.

So, even if we can’t get into the Home, we can still bring a bit of Christmas cheer, and also help to fill some of the needs that the Home has for the children at this time of the year!

-Belinda Chaplin

YWAM Banja Luka, Bosnia Herzegovina

Belinda is originally from South Africa and did her DTS there in 1996. She was staff there until she moved to Bosnia Herzegovina in 2001, where she has lived ever since. She has been in YWAM Central Europe leadership since 2015 and the YWAM Central Europe Convener since 2016.