9. 8. 2022.
VISITATION OF THE MINISTER GORDANA ČOMIĆ TO VALJEVO ON THE OCCASION OF THE COMPLETED WORKS ON THE WATER NETWORK
With works that lasted from March to July 2022, a water supply system with a length of 1,282.66 meters was built and manholes for households were introduced. As part of the intervention, a total of 153 households in the village of Gornja Grabovica were connected to the water supply network, which gave them constant access to drinking water. In addition, it was possible to connect to the water supply network and the regional department of Andra Savčić Elementary School in Gornja Grabovica, which is attended by about 40 students from 1 st to 4 th grade.
The work was carried out as part of the project "Reducing the additional vulnerability of Roma men and women and other marginalized groups caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 18 local governments" which is implemented as part of the German development cooperation Programme "Inclusion of Roma and other marginalized groups in Serbia", implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in partnership with the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue. The partners in the project are the General Secretariat of the Government of the Republic of Serbia as the legal representative of the Team for Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, and the implementation partners are the Center for Interactive Pedagogy and the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization.
"With the support of the Republic of Serbia, which implemented a very important project with its partners, we provided drinking water for over 153 households in Gornja Grabovica. The city of Valjevo has shown itself to be a reliable partner in this project as well, and I would like to thank the donors with whom we managed to contribute to the improvement of the lives of families in this part of our city. We are open to any type of cooperation in the future and I think that, so far, we have shown that we are sincerely working to improve the lives of Roma in the territory of the city of Valjevo. I believe that in the coming period we will be able to boast of solving some decades-long problems in Valjevo, especially in the Roma population," said the mayor of Valjevo, Lazar Gojković.
Minister Gordana Čomić emphasized that the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue takes care of all minorities, but also about the protection and improvement of their rights and that drinking water is one of the basic human rights.
"Together with the partners from GIZ, and above all with the people who live here and with the representatives of the municipality of Valjevo, today we want to share the information that the implementation of our strategy and plan for a better life of the Roma is underway. Drinking water is one of the first conditions and a basic human right and we want as the state of Serbia to show that we say what we mean and do what we say, which is that everyone has access to drinking water. A big job is ahead of us, but a lot of work has been done. The Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and social dialogue takes care of all minorities and its protection and improvement of their rights, and I will use this beautiful, watery day for many houses in this village to ask all Roma, to invite all enumerators for a glass of water, to come freely to the census and to express themselves freely, because it is important that in the census of Serbia we know how many Roma live in Serbia. The correct number will mean more water in more houses, it will mean better electricity supply, solving problems. Roma are our neighbors, friends, relatives, brothers and sisters and deserve the same quality of life as anyone else living in Serbia. We will work on it. We are grateful to Valjevo and we will suggest to GIZ and all of the other partners to continue investing money in Valjevo, because the way in which that money is spent is worth every euro spent, and all for the better quality of Roma men and women who live here, but also for everyone others," emphasized Minister Gordana Čomić.
"We received this village water supply for management in 2018 and we can freely say that it was not adequate, that we had a very large number of days with water shortages." This had a significant impact on the fact that we had to deliver tanks with healthy drinking water for free, but this is not the way. Thank God, now with the construction of the reservoir on Carić and the construction of the water supply network, we have ensured a regular supply of the city's drinking water, so there will be no more problems that have existed so far," said Ivan Filipović, director of JKP Vodovoda Valjevo.
"Even with the beginning of the Corona virus pandemic, the already difficult housing and living conditions of Roma throughout Serbia were made even more difficult. The entire project was implemented in seven local government units and after more than a year, more than 520 families received proper drinking water in their homes for the first time. Today, here in Gornja Grabovica, we are witnessing that after more than 20 years these people have drinking water in their homes for the first time. I want to thank all the partners in this extremely important project in front of the German development cooperation program "Inclusion of Roma and other marginalized groups in Serbia", concluded Sanela Bakhtijarević, programme’s manager.
The main goal of the project "Reducing the additional vulnerability of Roma and other marginalized groups caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 18 local governments" is to overcome the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the field of education, improving access to water and improving information and immunization against COVID-19, as well as technical support to competent local institutions for monitoring the course of the pandemic. One of the priorities of the project was to support local governments and public utilities in providing permanent access to water for more than 500 Roma and other marginalized families in more than 10 substandard settlements in seven local government units: Kanjiža, Smederevska Palanka, Stara Pazova, Zrenjanin, Kovin, Alibunar and Valjevo.