According to the decision of the jury, the Exit Foundation and NIS “Youth Heroes” award in the social activism category was received by Jovan Milić from Niš, for his selfless support to the poor and Milan Srdić from Novi Sad, who speaks to high school students who are on the verge of adulthood about how not paying attention while driving for only a second can cost them a lot.
Jovan Milić (24) is a student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Niš. So far his name has been spoken more than 30 times during ceremonies announcing winners of various awards, including those which require a long career, such as “Svetosavska” award or “11 April” the award of the City of Niš.
Milan Srdić (27) completed his studies of Traffic Safety at the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad. He works within his profession, and the only thing he asked for on his job interview was to be allowed to miss work twice a month because he visits high schools and during “I’m still driving” panels, speaks to students about traffic safety. With four other colleagues, Milan talks about his own experience – how his life changed after his traffic accident. He was involved, even though it was not his fault, in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet when he was 18 years old, and he has been in a wheelchair ever since. (…)
Jovan, the young man from Niš, started collecting aid for the poor while he was still in primary school. (…)
“When you are riding the bus or walking the streets, you can see the hunger in people’s eyes, you can see they don’t have anything, and then you are presented with two options. You can be the spectator, or you can roll up your sleeves and do something about it. I chose the second option. I got tired of watching people struggle, so I created a humanitarian portal “Find Raoul” which is dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg, a humanitarian from the Second World War,” says Jovan.
So far, aid has been delivered to hundreds of addresses, not only in Serbia but also in other countries in the region. He says that the hardest thing for him is delivering donations:
“There have been some traumatic situations. For example, you come to someone’s house and this family has nothing to offer you to eat or drink, so they go to their neighbour’s house to borrow some coffee” says Jovan honestly. (…)
For Milan, “Youth Heroes” was the first time he received such an award, although as a former footballer and currently a para-athlete in a throwing discipline he brought home sports medals. The Association of Paraplegics and Quadriplegics of Serbia invited him to be a “speaker” or more precisely to share with high school students his experience on how his life changed in seconds.
“My first panel was at the Technical School in Novi Sad. I did not have any stage fright. I simply approached them as though I was one of them, their slightly older friend. I told them that what had happened to us would not necessarily happen to them. The accident was not my fault, but that moment was enough to stop me from playing football ever again”, says Milan. (…)
In order to pull young heroes from anonymity and turn them into inspiration and role models for entire generations, the “Youth Heroes” award was given for the second consecutive year in four categories: education/science, entrepreneurship/creative industries, culture/art, and social activism. This year, 17 winners were selected out of 200 candidates.