January 31, 2011


Written by Predrag Marinkovic /GALLERY/ FINANCIAL REPORT /RADIO KIM/


On January 15th and 16th, 2011 representatives of the humanitarian organization, Serbs for Serbs (Srbi za Srbe) launched a massive Christmas humanitarian aide mission for the ninth year in a row in aide of Serbs in the Kosovo-Metohija region. Joint forces of the organization SAD, Austria and Switzerland, in conjunction with the ongoing and immeasurable support from NVO branch ‘Mother of Nine Jugovica’ from Zvecana, have once again successfully garnered much-needed support for the most vulnerable Serbs. A total of eleven families from the Novo Boro and Strpce townships have been assisted as well as the soup kitchen in Prekovac. Contributions totaled approximately 5,100 Euros ($6,939 USD).




This most recent humanitarian effort has yielded the following:

- 15 beds (51,840 dinars + 720 euros)

- 4 refrigerators (18,800 dinars + 375 euros)

- 6 washing machines (105,400 dinars + 520 euros)

- 2 sinks (9,720 dinars)

- 16 chairs (8,640 dinars + 216 euros)

- 1 wood-burning oven (180 euros)

- 1 vacuum cleaner (60 euros)

- 10 blankets (100 euros)

- 22 books (5,367 dinars + 30 euros)

- Housing fees for three students (300 euros)

- 11 packets of sweets and candy (5,850 dinars)

- 5 bags of toys, clothing and small household items

- 10 kilograms Aleve pepper for everyday cooking (6,600 dinars)



- Transportation for 5 representatives from Belgrade – 10,280 dinars

- Housing in Zvecan for 4 representatives – 3,300 dinars



The five representatives of Serbs for Serbs arrived on holy Serbian land in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 15, 2011 and were greeted by representatives of NVO ‘Mother of Nine Jugovica’. Upon brief consultations and planning regarding the visiting of Serb families, they departed for their first destination, Novo Brdo. On route they stopped by Monastery Gracanica, one of the holiest Serbian Orthodox monasteries. Following their short visit they were welcomed by representatives of Radio ‘KiM’ from Caglavice with whom they discussed their agenda before continuing on their journey.




The campaign officially began in the village of Jasenovik in St. Sava grade school, which is a specific school in that it serves both Albanian and Serbian children. Albanian children have classes in the afternoon on the first floor and Serbian children have classes on the second floor in the morning. Upon arriving, plenty of children, villagers, teachers and the school principal are already awaiting us in front of the school. The schoolyard is full of smiles, the clamor of children and happiness at our arrival. It is difficult to explain how our visit alone is cause for great joy to the children and people of the Kosovo-Metohija enclaves. Quite simply, it is difficult to understand unless one experiences it directly. In the school’s facilities, lined with all twenty-four little ones from first to eighth grade, we distribute packages prepared by NVO ‘Mother of Nine Jugovica’. Following our brief interaction with the children and school personnel, we continue our mission with their heartfelt farewells.





The first family we visited was the Zlatanic family from the village of Bostan. The family consists of two sisters and their brother who, are in a difficult mental state and who, through the help of their neighbors and the soup kitchen in Prekovac, manage to survive. We helped this family two years ago with the purchase of a wood-burning oven. This time we have purchased a bed and washing machine for them with the hope that it will lessen their strife at least a little.



The next family on our itinerary is the Milic family from Prekovca. This family consists of husband and wife, Vitomir and Leposava and their twelve-year old son, Stefan. Even though they live in poverty they have nevertheless taken in a single mother, Miljana and her two-month old daughter, Anastasia, who have been outcast by her family. The Milic family is managing to survive thanks to meals from a nearby soup kitchen. They have shown great humanity in taking in Miljana and Anastasia as if they were their own. For this noble household we have donated a bed, kitchen sink and refrigerator. Little Stefan received books on Orthodox themes and several toys.



Our journey continues taking us to the village of Zebnice and to the Simjonovic family. The family consists of Dragan, the father and Jelena, the mother of two little girls named Andela (3 yrs.) and Andrijana (9 mos.). This extraordinary family possibly made the strongest impression on us. The young married couple quite simply refuses to succumb to the circumstances life has dealt them. On the road to their cottage, which dates back to the early twentieth century, we encountered hard-working Dragan and his herd of sheep (currently their greatest wealth aside from their daughters). In our conversation with them we learned that they are surviving on modest social assistance. They are hindered by their difficult living conditions in particular because they are not the owners of their dilapidated abode but rather pay a rental fee of 200 Euros a year to Dragan’s uncle, the owner, for a “satisfactory” dwelling built in the early 1900’s. Dragan has a great desire to further his work with livestock and wants help in the meantime with the purchase of additional sheep in order to expand his herd. 



Through a consultation with the representatives of ‘Mother  of Nine Jugovica’, it was decided that they would assist with that aspect of aiding the family and we would provide a washing machine, bed, sink and for the youngest ones packages of toys and sweets. With words of support and encouragement, we bid farewell to this hard-working family and continue to the village of Straza.



In Straza we visited the Stojanovic family; father, Gradislav and mother, Biserka and their four sons, Milos (21 yrs.), Igor (20 yrs.), Stefan (18 yrs.) and Aleksandar (12 yrs.).

While the Milic family amazed us with their big hearts, the Simjonovic family with their persistence, sadly this family left a bitter taste in our mouths, a lump in our throats and eyes on the verge of tears. The mother and father are in difficult psychological and physical states and their sons even worse. Instead of being full of life and flourishing through various athletic activities, socializing with girls and finding first loves and crushes, empowered by knowledge and planning their own families, with great misfortune they are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from the NATO bombings of 1999. They live their pain-filled lives inside four walls. The only ray of light is the youngest son, Aleksandar who, alone cares for the family’s two cows. The one in deepest despair is Igor, who doesn’t get out of bed. We aim to ease their profound struggles with the purchase of four beds, a washing machine and four chairs.



The last family we visited in the Novo Brdo township was the Vasic family from the village of Koretiste; father Stanko, mother Zorica and their children Milos (19 yrs.), Bojan (17 yrs.), Katarina (8 yrs.) and Marina (5 yrs.). We caught up with the males of the family in the midst of a construction project repairing and replacing the tiles on their roof while Katerina and Marina occupied themselves with the organization of a mini party for themselves in their room dancing and singing to music. This family survives by way of irregular social assistance but thank God, is in far healthier psychological and physical states than the Stojanovic family. In addition to books and toys for the girls, we obtained a washing machine and three beds for the family. With this visit, we complete our tour of families in the township of Novo Brdo.



On our return to Zvecan we stopped by Monastery Draganac, an endowment of holy martyr Tsar Lazar, erected in the 14th century and named after one of his daughters. The church was destroyed several times and rebuilt ten years ago, thanks to the arrival of Father Kiril, an extraordinary individual who with his God-given hands singularly rebuilt a large portion of the monastic complex—the strength of this man is truly unbelievable until it is witnessed firsthand on site. Father Kiril hosted our small group and upon brief heartfelt conversations we warmly part ways with an invitation from him to return to the monastery when each of us marries.





An interesting aspect of our recent humanitarian mission is the fact that, due to the financial contributions we received and the number of families we subsequently planned to visit, for the first time ever we were able to devote two full days to the aide effort.


We begin day two of our mission in the early hours of Sunday, January 16, 2011 heading to the township of Strpce where we will help needy Serbs living in that area. In Strpce we were greeted by Father Aleksandar, our old friend from earlier missions in the area. With his enormous help we discovered and visited six families from within the neighborhood. 



The first family Father Aca took us to was the family of Branislav Stevanovic. In addition to Branislav, the family consists of his three daughters, who are students in Mitrovici (they were not present during our visit), his wife and youngest son. In speaking with the family, we learned that Branislav occasionally gets work in construction when work is available and that aside from that, the family does not have an income. We also discovered that the daughters are excellent students majoring in biology and chemistry but that they are struggling with the housing fees in Mitrovici. Given that we were convinced on site that their living conditions were adequate regarding furnishings, we nevertheless decided to make a small exception for this family. Due to father Aca’s advice and high recommendation, we designated 300 euros for the family’s student housing fees so as to ease their difficulties and make possible the timely obtainment of college degrees which, we hope will ultimately enable a better life for the daughters and their family. The youngest family member received educational books on Serbian literature and a package of sweets.


We continue and end our humanitarian mission by visiting five families in the village of Vrbesnica at the foot of Mount Sar. The landscape of the village features green hills against the white peaks of the Serbian Alps, antiquated cottages and mountain streams all of which leaves an extraordinary impression on us. In awe of our surroundings, we are unable to cease admiring another of the beauties, which adorn our holy Serbian land. As such moments pass so rapidly, we return to the task at hand and the harsh reality of the first five families from that village.



The Stankovic family, consisting of Stanko, the father and Ivana, the mother and their two girls Aleksandra (2 yrs.) and Andrijana (4 yrs.) live in catastrophic conditions without a bathroom in a one and a half room dwelling, on social assistance and sporadic minimum wage. We did not find the father at home and from Ivana, his wife, learned about their most pressing needs. Due to their dire living conditions and their small children we have decided to designate for them a refrigerator, washing machine, bed, four chairs and a vacuum cleaner. The children will receive clothing, toys and sweets.






The next family we came to is also named Stankovic and consists of Zoran, the father his wife and three sons, Nebojsa (12 yrs.), Nenad (9 yrs.) and Nikola (6 yrs.). This family lives in a house that belongs to their cousins and which has been offered to them on unspecified terms. The house is fully equipped and furnished. The issue was with the fact that the family has the necessary items for a normal life however nothing belongs to them. In the end we agreed to donate a bed as they were in need of one due to the number of children they have.



Our visits continue with the Staletovic family consisting of Zoran, his wife, Ljupka and their children Violeta (15 yrs.), Stojko (12 yrs.), Valentina (10 yrs.) and Stefan (4 yrs.). We were introduced to this family by their benevolent neighbors who had good reason to bring us to them. This family abundant in children, is severely lacking in many other ways. With the exception of 7,000 dinars in social assistance, the family has no income. Upon speaking with Ljupka, the mother, we agreed to help them with a washing machine, wood-burning oven and four chairs. The children received gifts of sweets and books on Serbian literature and Orthodox themes. Midst plenty of words of thanks we received from yet another family, we moved straight on to the next family in the neighborhood.


The Orlovic family, whom we were also introduced to by the noble residents of this village, consists of Svetislav, the father, Budimka, his wife, her elder and disabled mother and the couple’s four children Aleksandar (16 yrs.), Jovana (14 yrs.), Dragana (11 yrs.) and Darko (9 yrs.). Needless to say, their situation is critical—there is no income aside from modest social assistance, the household is large and there is no possibility of owning livestock. For this impoverished family we have designated a refrigerator, three beds and four chairs.


And it is here, where we completed our family visits but not our list of planned help. Namely, a cousin of the Orlavic family named Vesna was present during the visit. She has six children one of whom is seriously ill. We met her family during our last visit and promised them a small refrigerator, which were going to deliver now. Prior to leaving the village we distributed more sweets, toys and books to children who had gathered because of our visit but whose families we did not help during this particular mission.


We thank Ms. Nada Vulic from London who donated 3,000 dinars, which we used to purchase gift packages for all the families we visited during this Christmas mission in the holy Serbian land.


Reflecting on how the days pass for these brave Serbs in an environment where they lack basic human freedoms, where children have no fulfillment except for each other, where people have not the opportunity for the most basic and humble work as farmers and livestock proprietors; we leave disappointed because we realize that our help is just a drop in the cup from which the thirsty cannot be satiated. Instead of being satisfied upon delivering to the Serbian people in the Kosovo-Metohija region the most comprehensive support to date through the continuation of our organization, we retreat discouraged toward the capital city (capital in terms of a lack of concern for those who live outside its walls) because we know that we have changed very little in the lives of the people here.


We are not comforted by the fact that our small assistance is a great deal more than what others are doing, nor does this discourage us from continuing to help our fellow people from the historic Serbian judgment day and Serbian shrines, rather it inspires us to persist more strongly and to help even more in the future regardless of the bitter taste it might leave in our mouths because nothing is changing for the better.


Each and every time, we will give our maximum effort for the sake of sleeping Serbian pride, for the sake of stirring the Serbian spirit (which has been sleeping a winter’s sleep for decades), for the sake of an example to others, for the sake of a positive example to the country, for the sake of future generations.


Get up and WAKE UP Serbs and think of your generations to come-- think about what they will inherit.




With faith in God,

Predrag Marinković


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