March 23, 2011

Serbs for Serbs in Raška


This was the first Serbs for Serbs action completely founded from Serbs for Serbs- North America Chapter.
On Friday, 18th March 2011, a two-member team of charity organization Serbs for Serbs headed Raška, in order to carry out the first major charity action in the teritory of the first Serbian state. We helped five families, donating them:
1 bag of toys,
3 bags of wardrobe,
2 washing machines and 2 refrigerators – 81.000 dinars,
3 lambs – 23.000 dinars,
bathroom material – 25.000 dinars, which will be bought in Belgrade and sent to Raška.

We spent 109.020 + 25.000 dinars in total, and the action was financed from SfS USA.

Our great friend, Protosyncellus Gerasim welcomed us in Novi Pazar. He is an iguman of the monastery Đurđevi Stupovi, and the single most responsible person for the sucess of our charity action. We went to the monastery with him, in which we received accommodation and a blessing for our action. The brotherhood of the monastery helped us throughout the action, as well as their friends. We stayed in the monastery, prepared everything for the action and spoke to Protosyncellus Gerasim about the situation of the Serbs in this part of Serbia.

On Saturday, 19th March, after the morning liturgy, we prayed to God and Saint Simeon and went to help to those who needed it most, which turned out to be quite unexpected to the people in Raška. Our host provided us transport with the help of his friends, who immediately became the friends of our organization. The field vehicle they provided was apsolutely necesarry to get to the families.

Despite the incredible bad road, we got to the first family in the village Tušimlje, known by the monastery of the Holy Ascension, near Novi Pazar. We visited family Jajić, consisting of Želimir and Branka and their three children, Jordan (21), Momir (19) and Milanko (17). Their eldest daughter is married, and she left them. Momir is sometimes working for a wage salary with his father, and that is their only income. Milanko goes to school, and it takes 5 kilometres across the mud to get to the bus. Jordan has liver problem, and at the time of our visit, he was at the hospital. The Jajić family owns 7 sheep, a goat and hens, which they grow for their own needs. The house in which they lived until recently looks like a barn with straw roof, and they are giving their best to build a new house below the old one. The furniture is in poor condition. We concluded that they needed more cattle, so we bought 3 lambs, 2 sheep and a ram.

After Tušimlje, we went to the village Kovačevo, to visit the Poleksić family. Gorica lives with three children, sons Saša (18), Stefan (15) and Slađan (5). Her husband died recently in a tragic accident, while her brother died during the war in Kosovo. Saša has become the head of the family, and he takes care of their household – 2 cows and hens. His eyes were full of tears since we got there, because he couldn't believe that someone from Belgrade came to help them, since no one remembered to do something for them. They live in a rented house. We insisted in buying them something, but they were so modest, and wouldn't accept anything. However, we saw that they needed a washing machine and a refrigerator, so we bought that for them.

In a village Ljuljac we saw our old friends, family Kostović, whom we helped twice before. Dragi and Radovanka have seven children: Marina (16), Miloš (15), Vesna (12), Radica (11), Miljan (4), Tanja (2) and Ivan (1). Their material situation is significantly improved since we first visited them, so now they have 3 cows, hens, pigs, and they cultivate the land. Since the washing machine broke down, we decided to get them a new one. They didn't ask for more.

We went back to Kovačevo, where we visited Milanko Milošević (26), a young man with difficult life. His both parents died when he was only five, and since then he lived with his grandmother. Milanko is doing whatever he can in order to survive. He couldn't live his grandmother and the family property and go to the city in order to find better conditions, so God gave him good neighbors who are helping him. An old toilet in the backyard is ruined, so he needs a bathroom. We promised to help him build a new one, and after that he will be able to find a wife and form his family. We will buy all the necessary material in Belgrade and deliver it to Milanko. We planed to spend 25.000 dinars on that.

In the suburbs of Novi Pazar, on the Deževo road, we visited the last family in this action, whom we visited several years ago. It is the Miletić family. Milomir and Milanka have seven children: Nataša (21), Nadica (19), Vesna (18), Stanka (14), Dušica (13), Marko (10) and Martina (1). Nataša and Stanka are married, and Stanka has a child, so they all live together in a house which they rent for 60 EUR per month. No one has a permanent job, but they work for wages, in order to survive. The brotherhood of the monastery is giving its best to help them. The state is not helping them, despite their cries for help. They needed the refrigerator, so we bought one for them.

The first action in Raška left many impressions about the difficult conditions in which our brothers and sisters live, but also about the negligence of the Republic of Serbia for the Serbs from this area. There is also a constant inter-ethnic tension, and that makes the life of our people very difficult.

We will keep on helping as much as we can, in the tradition of Saint Sava. We use this opportunity to thank again to father Gerasim, the brotherhood of the monastery Đurđevi Stupovi, our friend Ivan from Novi Pazar, and the rest of people who enabled the successful action.

With the faith in God!
Bojan Ilić
Mihailo Makanjić


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