May 23, 2015

SFS visiting Kosovo and Metohija

At the beginning of May, members of the Charity organization SERBS FOR SERBS visited the area of Kosovo and Metohija as part of the big Easter action. On this occasion, we visited 14 families and saw for ourselves how hard it is for them to stay and survive at their ancestral homes. The aid intended for them consists of purchasing furniture and appliances: electric stoves, wardrobes, bunk beds, sofas, freezers, washing machines, but also things like: cow, tractor, garage door, grilles and stable door, roof fixing, purchasing and delivering therapeutic bicycle. The total sum intended for this aid action is 20,000 Euros. We owe big gratitude to our friends from the NGO “Majka devet Jugovica”, as well as the Brotherhood of the Visoki Decani Monastery, who helped us carry out this action.

During our visit to Kosovo and Metohija, the journey took us from the north of Kosovo, over the Kosovo-Pomoravlje District and central Kosovo, and all the way to Metohija. Apart from the socially-disadvantaged families, we also visited the medieval monasteries, Banjska, Visoki Decani and Devic, which are cultural heritage of immeasurable value. They give testimony of our continuity in this region and give us hope for a better tomorrow. This journey gave us the chance to host our friends from the rap group THC La Familia.

Stanic Vujka in front of her house

We start our visit in Zubin Potok and the family of Stanic Dragutin and Vujka. Other family members are also Dragutin’s mother, whom they take care of, and their six daughters: Dragana (16), Svetlana (14), Stojana (13), Kristijana (11), Nikolina (10), and Valentina (10). This large family shares the house with Dragutin’s brother, and they live on welfare and child benefit. They keep three pigs, which are enough to meet their own needs, but they do not have enough space to keep more. Talking to the housewife, we learn that they do not have an electric stove, and that they could use bunk beds.

Aleksandar with his mother, Drita

Also in Zubin Potok, in an unfinished house, we are welcomed by a single mother, Drita Lepovic, and her five-year-old son, Aleksandar. Welfare is insufficient for their needs, and they do not have the right to receive child benefit, because Drita is not a Serbian citizen. During winter, their living conditions are even harder, because of two unfinished rooms with no windows, which are separated only by room door from the part of the house which can be used, so there is a lot of difficulty with keeping the house warm.

Aleksandar Lepovic

Drita’s husband passed away several months ago, so she can not afford to adapt the rooms and buy the windows on her own, and she does not want to sell the inherited property. They also need an upright freezer, which we are going to try to provide in the following period.

Javorinka Ilic in front of her house

Javorinka Ilic is a single mother of four: Marina (27), Marinko (26), Marica (24) and Dragica (24). This family lives in a rented house and they need a wood-burning stove and a washing machine.

The twins, Nino and Nina Rakic

We continue our journey to the village of Zupce and there we reach Jadranka Rakic and her three children, Nemanja (13), Nino and Nina (5).

Talking to the single mother, Jadranka, we learn that their only income is welfare and that they need an electric stove and a freezer.

After our visit to the Rakic family, we finish visiting north Kosovo and we head towards the Banjska Monastery, where the guys from the group THC La Familia join us. We continue our journey together towards Prekovac and the soup kitchen, where we meet our friends from the Charity organization Majka devet Jugovica and we arrange our future mutual actions.

In the afternoon, we arrive at the village of Berivojce, in the municipality of Kosovska Kamenica, where we are welcomed to the house of Dikic Radovan and Stanimir. Radovan is married to Suncica, and they have five children, Stefan (18), Marija (16), Milica (14), Aleksandar (8), and Jovan (7).

Dikic family

During the recent thunderstorm, there was a thunder stroke, which hit the Dikic family’s stable and killed two cows which were the means of supporting the family. Their monthly income consists of welfare and minimum wage, which altogether is not enough to provide funds for a new cow in a short period of time. Hence, we agree with the host to purchase the cow at our expense.

Luka and Dusan Velic

Boban Velic from Gracanica is a medical technician, and his wife, Darinka, is a housewife. They live as tenants, together with their four sons, Lazar (12), Nikola (10), Dusan (6) and Luka (4).

Velic family

What the Velic family needs most is a washing machine, and in the following period, when they move into their own house, we plan on providing them with furniture.

Marija, Atanasija, Milica and Marko Djoric

In the evening, we arrive in Orahovac, where we visit two families and a kindergarten. First we visit the Djoric family. Dobrivoje is a Serbian teacher, and his wife, Mirela, is a housewife. They have four children, Marko (12), Marija (9), Atanasija (6), and Milica (2).

Therapeutic bicycle for Marija Djoric

Marija suffers from a genetic disorder, ataxia, which involves muscle atrophy and problems with balance and coordination, so we deliver the therapeutic bicycle to them in the hope that it will strengthen her musculature until our next visit.

Kazic family

Not far from the Djoric family, we visit Kazic Misko and Katarina, who are the parents of six-year-old Jovan and two-year-old Nikolina. Their income consists of a minimum wage and child benefit, and we arrange with the host to have their dilapidated and rotten roof repaired.
Roof which will be repaired

In Orahovac, we also visit the kindergarten, counting almost 60 children from Velika Hoca and Orahovac.

The kindergarten is crucial for the survival of the Serb community in this region, because it is the only kindergarten for Serbian children in this part of Metohija.

The roof is in a very bad condition, so our plan is to provide 3,400 Euros, which will help build the new roof, chimney and install gutters.

Group photo with children from Orahovac

This concludes our first day of staying in the territory of southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija. After a pleasant conversation with the monks, we spend the night at the Visoki Decani Monastery, and after the Sunday Divine Liturgy, we continue visiting the families around Metohija enclaves.

First we visit Gorazdevac and the Jandzikovic family, consisting of the parents, Ljubomir and Mirjana, and their children, Ninoslav (21) and Neda (20), who suffers from a developmental disorder. They live on welfare and they cultivate 30 ha of land, but they also have 2 sows and 14 piglets. The Jandzukovic family would also like to have a cow, but they lack conditions, so they are going to try and create them in the following period. Until then, we are going to provide a bed for their daughter.

Mirjana Janadzgovic in front of her house

In the same street, we visit the family of Simonovic Tomislav and Dragica, and their five daughters, Tanja (23), Dijana (21), Kristina (18), Tamara (16) and Teodora (16). Three beds and a washing machine would make their lives a lot easier, so we are going to try to provide them as soon as possible.

Simonovic family

Then the journey takes us to the village of Zac, where returnee families often fall victims to thieves. The thieves will steal anything. If they do not succeed in taking cattle or tools, they will settle for old boots standing by the front door. Because of that, we provide Veljko Komatovic with a garage door, grilles and a stable door, worth 600 Euros altogether, so he could protect his tractor and cows from theft.

The young Komatovic family consists of the parents, Veljko and Marijana, their son, Strahinja (2), and one-month-old daughter, Marija.

Komatovic family in front of their new garage door, which will make their garage safer

We take a break in the village of Opraske, where we are welcomed to lunch by the only Serbian family there. The family consists of the parents, Petko and Snezana Miletic, and their two children, Tamara (10) and Lazar (9). This hard working returnee family receives welfare and child benefit, and they are engaged in agriculture and have 6 cows and 3 sows. We make an agreement with the host to have a stable built for them, which costs about 3,500 Euros, and the money for this project will hopefully be provided by the branch of the Charity organization Serbs for Serbs from Germany.

Tamara and Lazar Miletic in their yard

Miletic family

In a place called Suvo Grlo, we visit the family of Cedomir Tomasevic, who lives with his wife, Sladjana, and daughters, Andjela (7) and Milanka (5). Cedomir works as a janitor at school and is engaged in agriculture, which is why we decide to help the family with the purchase of a used tractor. We have provided 2,000 Euros, while the rest of the money has been provided by the host.

Having a tractor now, Cedomir has taken upon himself the obligation to help his neighbors who do not have any agricultural mechanization.

Tomasevic family children

The last family we visit lives in a very remote and inaccessible part of the village of Crepulja, in the municipality of Zubin Potok. The Djuric family consists of Zoran and Biljana, and they have other family members living with them: their niece, Danijela (24), and nephew Velisa (24) with his wife, Tanja (19) and their six-month-old son, Stefan. The twins, Danijela and Velisa, were abandoned by their parents when they were 3 years old, so the uncle, Zoran, took them into his care. Currently, all family members live in their old house, but their new house is being built, so our plan is to help the Djuric family by purchasing construction material.

Djuric family

The youngest member of the family, Stefan Djuric

New house which will soon become a home to Djuric family

After a successful action of visiting the families in the area of Kosovo and Metohija, we headed towards our friends in Osojane, where we were once again shown the hospitality and customs of this part of Metohija. Our friends, the rappers, had a short, but emotional performance there, and we hope that they will repeat it very soon. On the way to Osojane, we had taken the opportunity to visit the Devic Monastery, which was last ravaged not so long ago, in 2004, and its charred remnants can still be seen today.

Our way back home passed in recollecting fresh impressions and our mixed feelings. We all agreed that every visit to our fellow citizens in Kosovo and Metohija changes the way we see the entire situation we are currently in. We do not lose hope that better days are ahead, and until then, we are going to keep trying, as faithfully as possible, to show everyone the tragedy of our people. If we join forces, we can achieve a lot, so we invite you to make modest donations and support this, as well as other future actions of yours and ours Charity organization Serbs for Serbs.

Memorial dedicated to the missing Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, erected in Gracanica


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