October 04, 2011

SfS in Montenegro and Raška area

A two-member team of the Charity organization Serbs for Serbs visited and helped 6 families with many children in Pljevlje in Montenegro, Brodarevo (Prijepolje), Priboj and Nova Varoš. We delivered help in the amount of 1.100 EUR. The total number of children is 31, and the help we provided consisted of the groceries, hygiene, books, washing machine, dryer machine and a freezer. This was our first visit to the north of Montenegro and this part of the Raška area.
In this action we provided:
Groceries – 345 EUR
Washing machine – 265 EUR
Dryer machine – 250 EUR
Freezer – 250 EUR
Travel costs – 115 EUR
Total amount – 1225 EUR
The families we helped were: Pušica (4 children), Bujak (4 children) from Brodarevo, Drobnjak (4 children), Stojiljković (4 children) from Pljevlja and Šalipur (5 children) from Priboj, while we only visited the Dimitrijević family with ten children near Nova Varoš, and we agreed about the possible help in the future.
On Friday at dawn we headed from Belgrade towards Brodarevo, where we arrived at noon and met our host father Marko, the priest of Brodarevo. Father Marko is teaching religion in several schools in Brodarevo and surrounding area. Brodarevo is on the very border with Montenegro. There are several hundred Serbs in Brodarevo, merely 10% of the inhabitants, which made our visit even more important. Both father Marko and the families couldn't beleive that anyone from Belgrade would come to visit and help them. There are no problems with the majority muslim population, except for some incidents, but it is very important for the Serbs to remain in their homes.

The first family we visited was the family of Veljko Pušica, consisting of 7 members: Veljko, his wife Brankica, mother Gorica and children Isidora (10), Teodora (6), Kristina (5) and Dragoljub (9 months old). Dragoljub was sleeping, but the girls were very excited because of our visit, and they prepared two drawings as a thank. Only the mother Gordana is employed in the kindergarten, although she is currently at the maternity leave. Father Veljko is not permanently employed, but he is working from season to season. They are receiving a child benefit in the amount of 6.000 dinars. Since they grow poultry, and have the basic house appliances, we decided to get them groceries, hygiene, diapers etc. in the amount of 15.000 dinars. The children are attending the orthodox religious education, so we gave them several books of orthodox thematic and fairytales.
We visited another family in the neighborhood, the Bujak family, consisting of father Zoran, mother Svetlana, and children Igor (20), Ilija (14), Ivana (12) and Đurđina (3). The situation is more difficult than in the previous family. Father is the only employed memeber of the family, but he is currently in a hospital in Užice. Igor had a car accident last year, and the doctors had to remove his spleen. However, the family hasn't lost hope. The children are going to school and attending the religious education on a regulary basis, and they were happy to receive the books. We also bought them some groceries in the amount of 15.000 dinars. The family owns a sty, because they used to grow pigs, but after Igor's accident they had to stop, because the costs of treatment and recovery were significant. We therefore agreed to get them a sow the next time we visit them. The family also receives a child benefit for the three children in the amount of 5.000 dinars.
At the end of our visit, we went to the store together, and bought the groceries.
The families were very grateful to our organization and the donors, still being in disbelief that someone came to visit and help them from a distant place. We wish to thank father Marko for creating a link between us and the families, and helped us in realizing the action in this area. With God's help, our cooperation will continue.
Early next morning, we continued towards northern Montenegro. This is the first time for our organization to conduct an action in this part of Montenegro, but we hope to come back. We first visited the monastery of the Holy trinity near Pljevlja. The monastery is sheltered in the hills and woods, and the first thing a visitor face is Serbian flag with four firesteels. The monastery is from the 16th century, and it was probably built on the remains of the monastery from the period of Nemanjićs. After the burning of the relics of Saint Sava, what was believed to be his left hand, was placed in the monastery. It is now located in Mileševa. The monastery has beautiful frescoes and treasury and monastery lodging that is worth visiting. The prior to the monastery, father Leonid, told us about the situation in Pljevlja, and the position of the Serbian population. He followed us in visiting two families in the town.
At first we visited the Drobnjak family. Father Ljubo wasn't at home, so mother Anđa welcomed us. They have four children: Jovana (19), Jelena (15), Jana (9) and Jovan (1). The situation is not so bad, because both parents are employed. The mother works in „oposition“ television Pljevlja, and father at a private employer. However, they are renting an apartment. They needed the washing machine, which we provided for 265 EUR, and we also used 35 EUR to buy some groceries, and donated several books.
The next family is a family of the priest Milan Stojiljković. He and his wife Janja live in a church home with their four children: Arsenije (10), Dimitrije (7), Nastasija (5) and Ilija (1). Because of the heavy climate, they needed a dryer machine, which we provided for them, the first time in our practice. The family contributed in buying the machine – they gave 50 EUR, and we provided 250 EUR. Of course, we also donated several books and magazines of orthodox, national, historical and cultural themes.
The Serbs constitute a majority in Pljevlja. That provokes the problems with the central government, because the money is not arriving to Pljevlja. Many people lost their jobs. We were very happy to visit northern Montenegro, and we hope to continue helping the Serbian nation in this area. We wish to thank father Leonid who helped us during the action.
After that we went to Priboj, where we met Vladimir Ječmenica and Živorad Grabović, who helped us to find a seven-member family Šalipur near Priboj and the Lim river. The members of the family are father Ljubomir, mother Nada and children Miljan (16), Miloš (14), Milica (11), Rada (9) and Marija (6). The family lives in bad conditions without regulary income, except for child benefit for four children in the amount of 8.000 dinars. None of them is permanently employed, but the father is very hardworking person, so he opened a workshop within the house in order to earn some money. Until a few years ago they lived in a slum, but Ljubomir managed to build a new house on his own, but there is moisture in the house. The children attend the religious education,but they are not baptized yet due to the lack of money. The host explained that they need a freezer, which we managed to provide. We spent 25.000 dinars for the freezer.
After the liturgy in the monastery dedicated to Saint Kozma and Damjan in Vodena Poljana on Zlatar, we went to visit a twelve-member family Dimitrijević from the village Jasenovo in Nova Varoš municipality. The family consists of father Mlađen, mother Jovanka and their children: Predrag (24), Jovanka (23), Božidar (21), Darko (18), Vesna (17), Bojana (16), Snežana (15), Slavica (12), Borivoje (11) and Novica (4). The parents are not employed, but the oldest son Predrag is working from season to season in a sawmill, and he is supporting his family. The oldest daughter is married. Their biggest problem is the fact that they don't have water in the house, and in order to get the water, they need 1.500 EUR. The family used to receive a child benefit for the first four children, but they lost that right when the children turned 18 years old. They had a barn, but it was crashed in 2003. The oldest son plans to rebuild it, but he doesn't have enough money. The oldest son and mother told us that they need the most at the moment a freezer, closet and 2 beds. We promised to get them at least a freezer soon.
This action was important because Raška is a multicultural area. Although our help was modest, we are glad to have activated this area. It is very important for the Serbs to keep living in their homeland, and to avoid the situations from other areas where the Serbs had become a minority in their land. And who is better to keep the Serbian homelands than the families with many children? Thus we call upon all individuals to get involved and help the Serbian people to persist in their homelands, and not to let political and economic reasons to disenable that.
With the faith in God,
Stefan Ječmenica,
Darko Lojaničić

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