In complete silence, broken only by the roar of the wind and the blunt blows of the remains of the former wooden classroom door, teacher Ana stood in the middle of a large room in which a part of the ceiling collapsed, leaving a pile of stones on the floor. In that classroom, Ana began her career, creating memories and passing on knowledge to her students. There used to be over hundred of them. Today, of the large school in the small village of Kusa Vrana, only ruins remain that are inevitably eroded by the ravages of time, as well as memories of times of hope and promises. The pupils have not been here for a long time, nor the inhabitants are here any more.

Ana remained faithful to schooling. She works as a teacher in the nearby village of Trnski Odorovci. Her class is attended by two pupils, Marija and Milos, sister and brother. In a large, still somewhat preserved school, two of them are the only students. Silence replaced the echo of children’s laughter during the big break. There are no friends to share dreams, to play and compete. Only a tiny room is in use, a former director’s office, which is suitable for heating during the winter. Ana devotes all her attention to the two of them, trying to prepare them for life. She is aware that from the next school year, when Marija and Milos finish the fourth grade and leave to continue their education in a nearby city, only their younger brother will remain. He will be the last child in this school. There will be no one to succeed him, and with his departure the school will be left as an empty shell without purpose, a monument of remembrance of the days when life existed in these devastated areas – until time and the forces of nature destroy this last sign of former human presence.

In vast parts of Serbia and the Balkans, depopulation is clearly recognisable phenomenon, leaving entire areas without human presence. The future doesn’t exists here. This can be statistically confirmed in the decline in number of school-age children. Hundreds of schools have been abandoned, left to oblivion and the ravages of time, while hundreds of others have only a few pupils who represent the last generation to attend. After them, only silence remains.