15. 3. 2021.

Food and Hygiene Packages Distributed in Zaga Malivuk Settlement

Food and Hygiene Packages Distributed in Zaga Malivuk Settlement

Belgrade, 12 March – In organisation of the Serbian Red Cross and the German Development Cooperation Project “Inclusion of Roma and Other Marginalised Groups in Serbia”, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, 127 food packages, and 127 sanitation products packages with disinfectants were distributed to 79 families in Zaga Malivuk substandard settlement.

Delivery of food, sanitation products and disinfectants is actively being carried out in 18 towns and municipalities in Serbia. The plan is to distribute 9,000 food packages and 9,000 packages of hygienic products in three months.

The City Council Member, Danijela Mirjanić, thanked the Red Cross and GIZ, organisations with the long-standing and excellent cooperation, and added how this project serves as the best practice example.

“The Government of the Republic of Serbia and the City of Belgrade would certainly be unable to deal with diverse problems they face daily without the international organisations and the non-governmental sector. Indeed, the year behind us was a quite challenging one, and it took compassion in action and lending a hand to your neighbour. One of the main goals is Roma inclusion, and it entails not only help but also education, equality and a right to a decent life.”

The Secretary General of the Serbian Red Cross, Ljubomir Miladinović, expressed his gratitude to the German Development Cooperation for its support. “During COVID-19 pandemic, my colleagues health workers and my associates, volunteers, and employees at the Red Cross have shown, daily, just how important human solidarity, compassion and personal sacrifice are. I am delighted you’ve also recognised this commitment and chosen the oldest humanitarian organisation as your partner – the Red Cross, operating in Serbia for 145 years”, Miladinović said and added how this organisation, by respecting its basic principles and its mission, has been supporting the most vulnerable population categories throughout various crises.

The Head of Economic Cooperation Department at the German Embassy in Belgrade, Christian Schilling, explained how the pandemic brought many uncertainties into daily lives of our communities where marginalised groups tend to be particularly vulnerable. He pointed out that the main project’s goal is to improve and brace the living conditions of the Roma minority. “The pandemic affected them immensely, especially in terms of personal hygiene, living cleanliness, sanitary and living conditions in Roma substandard settlements. Severe repercussions for said settlements are quite likely from an inadequate access to water, sewerage or from electricity cuts”, Schilling explained and underlined that the development cooperation supports relevant partners’ efforts on Roma inclusion through a comprehensive approach, by working on the legal framework, on the institutional level, and directly with affected communities.

In cooperation with the National Alliance for Economic Development (NALED), the project “Inclusion of Roma and Other Marginalised Groups in Serbia” will continue with activities for informing, protecting, and recovering marginalised families from 18 towns and municipalities. The focus will be on the economic empowerment of Roma and other marginalised groups, with the help of the “Together for the Community” programme through various employment activities. The programme will be implemented in six towns and municipalities (Aleksinac, Kragujevac, Kruševac, Pirot, Subotica and Vranje), with a plan to distribute additional 1,200 packages for 210 families, totalling in 24,500 of assistance packages.

The COVID-19 virus has spread throughout the territory of Serbia in the early 2020, and marginalised groups, due to their living conditions, tend to be the most affected. As a support response to the most vulnerable, distribution of packages of food and sanitary products will target a total of 4,733 families.