The Surčin municipality is the only municipality in Serbia that provides resources for its most disadvantaged inhabitants twice a year. Funds are collected both from donors and from the budget of the municipality. T
The Surčin municipality is the most recently established municipality in Serbia and is the seventeenth municipality of Belgrade. It occupies an area of 220 square kilometers and consists of seven villages, with approximatelly 55,000 inhabitants.
A humanitarian project called “Uprising of Humanity” was launched 3 years ago as the President of the municipality and other authorities were receiving appeals for help on a daily basis from the most disadvantaged inhabitants.
Twice a year, the poorest inhabitants of the Srem villages receive between 500 to 5,000 dinars as one-off grants. Over the year, funds from donors and the budget of the municipality are directed to the humanitarian fund of the “Uprising of Humanity”. A portion of the funds is also derived from the auctions of gifts received by the President of the municipality.
All beneficiaries and donors gathered for the first time at the beginning of May this year. On this occasion a cocktail was organized in the Bojčinska forest near Progar village, during which grants were distributed. This event was organized for the second year in a row since the “Uprising of Humanity” had been established and a third round of aid distribution.
The idea for this event came from the President of the municipality himself, Mr.Vojislav Janošević. He admitted that it was not his idea originally; he borrowed it from a Frenchman, of whom he had read in a newspaper article and who had organized a humanitarian project with the same title. Mr. Janošević was hence determined to initiate a similar project in the most recently established municipality in Serbia.
-When we started in 2006, some 30 to 40 out of 200 potential donor companies responded to our invitation. They were donating 10,000 dinars each month. Now there are about 70 donors – says Mr. Vojislav Janošević.
We received 400 requests for the third round of aid distribution. All requests were processed by a special committee. 157 families were selected using a rating system. They received 488,000 dinars.
The grant was given to persons with disabilities, elderly households, refugees and IDPs, Roma families, single mothers…
Before the gathering at the Bojčinska forest, grants were distributed at the municipality headquarters, whereas the selection of beneficiaries was done by the local municipality units.
Finally, this is done by a special Committee. The database of the most disadvantaged population will be used in the future as well, once the Social Work Center is established.
Mrs. Borka Mušicki from Progar is a single mother of three daughters. Unemployed and widowed, she says she will use the money to purchase clothes for her daughters aged 6, 7 and 12. – This means a lot to me, as buying trainers for my daughters only costs a few thousand dinars. Of course, I would prefer to find a job since I have been registered with the National Employment Service for 12 years – she explains.
Even the organizers of the Uprising are aware that short-term aid is not enough. – This is not a permanent solution. It is better to provide new jobs and attract investors. This is a more effective way to deal with poverty. But until such time, we have to ”run to rescue” in this way. For these people, moderate amounts provide enough to buy food for a few days – adds the municipality President. Authorities of the Surčin municipality wish that the list of disadvantaged would reduce, as well as for the “Uprising of Humanity” to spread through Serbia, at least in those municipalities whose neighbors are facing poverty.