BELGRADE, Serbia – Serbia offered a 10-year-old migrant from Afghanistan, who has been nicknamed “Little Picasso” because of his talent for painting, and his family citizenship on Wednesday, after they spent eight months in a refugee camp while seeking to reach Switzerland.
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic made the offer to Farhad Nouri, which also included a job for his father, upon meeting the five-member family in his office. Nouri’s drawings and photographs were put on display last week in what was also a charity event to raise money for a Serbian boy recovering from brain tumor surgery.
Nouri and his family left their home in Afghanistan two years ago. Upon their arrival in Serbia, Nouri joined art classes organized by aid groups, and his talent soon turned him into a local celebrity.
“I know for how long you have travelled and that you want to go to Switzerland,” Vucic said. “But if you decide to stay, we will give you the citizenship now.”
The family is among some 5,000 migrants who have been stranded in Serbia after fleeing wars and poverty in their homelands. They have been unable to move on toward Western Europe, which has sought to curb the influx of migrants.