Greetings to all of you good people from around the world!
Life can be difficult in a country with collapsing economy, social inequality, injustice and disregard for human life. I'm from Serbia, a small ex-Yugoslavian country with a low standard of living, torn apart between dozen political parties, where citizens as individuals are neglected and serve only to maintain capitalistic exploiting mechanism. The average salary is smaller than monthly expenses of the citizens and consumer basket, while earnings of 80% of the population are even smaller than the average. According to Eurostat data, Serbia is a country with highest social inequality in Europe, which means that highest incomes end up in the pockets of a privileged minority. Over the past few years, Serbian government advocates hard labor and growth of working class while the culture and academic education are unappreciated and disregarded. Hordes of young educated people fleeing the country and go abroad where they are acknowledged, respected and paid as they deserve to be.
I'm a comparative literature student struggling to finish my studies, despite the ban on employment in the public sector (which makes hiring uncertain until further notice, even if I soon get my degree).
I live with my boyfriend in a village far from the city where my university is, and can't even afford a bus ticket to get there. Our house is old and in need of urgent renovation because of moisture and mold.
My boyfriend is an excellent musician, but he can't find a job. The only chance we now have, and most of the people are doomed to, is "labor for lease" which is how employment works around here since the above-mentioned government ban.
Work conditions are cruel and ruthless, salaries are too low and you can get fired in a glimpse of time. Withal, getting a job right now will leave me without the opportunity, strength and time to learn and finish my studies, because that would define me, and my boyfriend, as laborers for the rest of our lives.
There's no progress and no promotions for workers in Serbia. Backbreaking jobs and small fees that barely cover existential needs left these people with no strength and will to self-improve and move forward, succeed and live a life they deserve. After decades of authoritarian, oppressive, corrupted regimes and economic downturn, this exhausted nation surrendered, in silence and compliance, with the slogan - Be quiet and endure.
And finally, why am I asking for help. We never went on vacation, we can't pay our bills or renovate our house, I can't go to my university, and sometimes I don't know if we'll have for a meal the next day. I can't fantasize about our future, plan a wedding or even think about starting a family. My parents are helping as much as they can, but with health and financial problems of their own, they actually need my help, rather than vice versa. I do not have relatives who could help me and my friends are in a difficult situation just as I am. My boyfriend, unfortunately, have no other family except me.
We have lots of talents. My boyfriend and I compose music, but we don't have the technical and material possibilities for its recording and production. I am writing from an early age and hope to become a published writer once, but harsh reality doesn't let me surrender to my imagination and abstraction. Also, I draw and paint as an amateur, but I have no conditions to improve myself and to enjoy in pure delight of art and creation.
I find comfort in thinking that tomorrow is a new day, but every day the future looks darker and darker. It's often said that "you always have a choice", "you can do it", "there's always a way", but sometimes, it all appears to be impossible. We have fallen into the vortex of despair and hopelessness, left with no choices, no hopes. It seems like we are in a prison of inevitability deprived of freedom, suppressed by fears. We feel like our lives are not in our own hands anymore.
My dear, good Samaritans of the world, if you can and if you want, help us fulfill our dreams and potentials. With insignificant effort and minor funds help us live a dignified life with just a little bit brighter future.