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“Innovative tools in the fight against social exclusion”

On 10th of September 2014, in Šabac, a conference: “Innovative tools in the fight against social exclusion”, was organized by Caritas Šabac, within the project “Strengthening professional adult education in rural areas”, which is implemented under the Second IPA Call of Cross-border Programme Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is financed from the IPA pre-accession funds. Hundred participants who had come from Belgium, Italy, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia attended the conference.

The conference was opened by introductory speeches of Director of Caritas Šabac – Miroljub Nikolić, deputy mayor of the town of Šabac – Nemanja Pajić and representative of Caritas Belgium – Marc Somers.

“Through the project “Strengthening professional adult education in rural areas” we tried to get closer to the concept of the territorial approach, which may be a new integrative tool for social inclusion and poverty reduction. It is based on the idea that the fight against social exclusion cannot be considered as a goal itself, but rather be seen as part of a whole, which takes the form of a local development strategy, that is no longer an initiative of a few individuals or institutions but joint effort, which is harmonized and coordinated by all actors”– said the director of Caritas Šabac – Miroljub Nikolić in his opening address.


Silvia Scialpi of social cooperative “COOP Noncello” from Italy, opened the first working part of the conference with a presentation on “Vocational trainings in adult education as a tool for sustainablerural development”, referring to the experience that the “COOP Noncello” had in various projects, where they had empowered people from vulnerable social groups with specific vocational trainings and engaged them in accordance with their capabilities. Participants of the panel discussion were: Momcilo Pavlovic, director of the Economic and trade school in Šabac; Branko Filipović in front of the National Employment Office; Vivienne Scheidler and Predrag Djurić from Foundation “Biodinamika” and Marko Cvijanović from the association “Ruralni Centar Sova”.

Stefano Mantovani, representative of the C.O.S.M. (Consorzio operativo salute mentale) from Italy, with a speech on “Social Enterprise as a tool for social inclusion of people from vulnerable social groups” had presented the history and work of social cooperatives in Italy and the current status and opportunities for the development of the social economy in Europe.

“The social economy is based on the individual and his or her needs and abilities and is a part of the real economy in which there is no room for speculation. We should work to create a profit in the market, with the goal of humanization”– said Stefano Mantovani.

In the panel discussion, in which introductory speaker had spoken as well, participated: Representative of the Republic Institute for Social Protection Gordana Ković; Draženko Budimir, director of agriculture cooperative Livač, from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Daniele Bombardi, representative of Caritas Italiana.

With the speech on “Prospects for the development of social entrepreneurship in Serbia,” Jelena Milovanović, a representative of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, presented the importance of social entrepreneurship, the situation in Europe and Serbia in the field of social economy, social effects of the operation of social enterprises, the recommendations by the OECD and the next steps for the development of social entrepreneurship in Serbia. In the panel discussion participated: Dragana Milosavljević, a representative of the city of Šabac; Jelena Damljanović, Association for Initiative and Development and Gordan Velev, Association of Samaritan workers.


Tatjana Marković Topalović presented Science Park, the first in Serbia, located in the courtyard of the Center for Professional Development, where the conference was held. The aim of science parks is to be in the open, publicly accessible green space, to display authentic examples of scientific phenomena in physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry, and for the visitors to meet with them in an interactive way. Science parks are designed for all ages and they inspire the detection of various laws of nature and understanding of the natural sciences. All speakers and participants in the panel discussions shared their valuable experiences in various fields that were part of the themes of the Conference. The general conclusion is that the economy is in the center of the man, that the poor cannot be seen as passive actors, as someone who needs “help” as the ratio of solidarity should exist within each economy.


Schoolbags and school material: gifts to the first graders from the flooded areas of Serbia

Starting school is an emotional event for the first graders, a beginning of a new life period, which stays impressed in mind for all life. Parents always try to make it as nice as possible for their children, but indubitably all the necessary school material is also a great expense for the family budget, especially in the flooded areas, where life conditions are still not the same, four months after. Thanks to the donations of Caritas Austria 2556 schoolbags with the school material were distributed to the first graders in three flooded municipalities of Serbia: Obrenovac, Sabac and Valjevo. The school material contains: a backpack, a one-piece pencil case, watercolors 12/1, wax crayons 12/1, plasticine 10/1, notebooks A5 – 6 pieces, notebooks A4 – 6 pieces, block 2, collage paper, liquid glue 50 ml., pencil sharpener and children’s scissors.

 Podela školskog pribora Caritas

A press conference in the school “Nada Puric” in Valjevo

The distribution was organised during a show for the beginning of the school year. In Valjevo the distribution was held in single schools, but in the school “Nada Puric” there was a small press conference, in which was present the director of Caritas Serbia, Rev. Vladislav Varga.

“We managed to provide more than 2.500 backpacks and school material for children from three cities. There is an old saying: if you want to see fruits in one year plant rice, although in our areas it would probably be wheat; if you want to see fruits for several years plant a three, but if you want to see fruits for a hundred and more years than invest in children. I think it’s the most beautiful thing, because children are our future. This way we wanted to make their entrance to the school desks a happier event” – were the words of Rev. Varga. He also said how many children will receive the school material and what has Caritas done so far for the flooded.


At the conference the assistant of the Mayor for the issues of the social protection Mrs. Svetlana Jankovic Beljanski also spoke and explained that thanks to the Caritas donation not only parents and children were able to receive school material, but it was also good for the city budget, cause the public administration is obliged to buy school material and school bags for children from the socially vulnerable families, so that thanks to the Caritas donation they were able to save some money.

After the conference Rev. Varga and other representatives of Caritas went to the classrooms to meet the children. The school director, Mrs. Ana Savkovic, first spoke and said to the children and parents to “spread the good word that Caritas helped the children in these three cities”. Rev. Varga than encouraged children to build a better society, to be careful of the environment and to know how to prevent situations like the floods. He also said that the small river Tamnava was the first who started the floods, so small people also have a great power to make changes.


A welcome to all the first graders in the centre of Sabac

On Monday 1st of September, from 18 to 20h, on a town square in front of the post, it was organised a entertainment program for the first graders from all the elementary schools of town, conduced by the actor Slobodan Boda Nikolic and the children’s songwriter Joca Adamov. After the program there was a theater show “Ala je lep ovaj svet” (How beautiful is this world), written according to the of the lyrics of the famous Serbian poet Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj, thought especially for children who are starting the school, as a support in front of this new life period. The Caritas workers have wished a happy beginning of school, giving the schoolbags with the complete material for all the 1160 first graders from the territory of the city of Sabac, a gift of Caritas of the Belgrade Archdiocese, with the financial support of Caritas Austria.

“I want to congradulate everyone for this important day, which marks a new epoch in the lives of our children. Together we have thought how to make this day beautiful for the students and give them memories which will last for all their lives, not only with the schoolbags and the material they would get, but also in order to increase in all of us a sense of solidarity and care for others through this show ” – said Miroljub Nikolic, the director of Caritas Sabac.

 Sabac 8

Other than the gifts from Caritas children also received gifts from the city of Sabac, the membership cards of the town library and the membership cards of the theater club.

The Mayor of Sabac Nebojsa Zelenovic has also wished happy beginning of the school to the children. 
“The first of September is a special day during the year, but for you first graders a new period of childhood is beginning. Today you are becoming students! Being a student is one of the best periods in life. For this reason the whole family remembers this day with great joy. The first school days are a special experience for children, parents and teachers. This is the beginning of the period of education, a new life with duties, but also with new interesting knowledge. The school becomes an equally important place as home and getting to know new friends is one of the best experiences in life. I wish you to make many friend and be happy about learning “ – were the words of the Mayor of Sabac. 

 Sabac 7

Celebrations for first graders in Obrenovac

For the city of Obrenovac it was most questionable if the school will start on time, cause most of the school buildings were damaged during the May floods, but on the 1st of September the students from Obrenovac also started the school year, which Caritas was glad to support by giving school material and backpack for the first graders, decreasing this way the expenses of the parents in preparing their children for the beginning of the school.

In all of five schools in the Obrenovac municipality, in which the students received backpacks with school material from Caritas, there was a welcoming celebration for the first graders, in which they were given this school material. On the celebrations the representatives of Caritas were there to wish a happy beginning of the school year to the children.


Aid for the flooded collected through diocesan Caritas in Serbia

From the start of the floods all diocesan branches of Caritas in Serbia gathered in the action of collecting aid for helping the people from the flooded areas.

Caritas of Subotica diocese collected total 1.181.000 RSD, together with four tons of food, bottled water, hygienic articles, diapers and clothes in the value of 200.000 RSD.

Caritas of Zrenjanin diocese collected around 4500 EUR and this amount was used for paying the electricity bills used for the dryers in 80 households in Obrenovac. In this Diocese it has been collected also 3,5 tons of clothes, blankets, food and hygiene products.

Caritas of Srijem diocese collected 3170 EUR in money, and food, hygiene products and clothes in the value of 400.000 RSD ca. This collected aid was used for helping the flooded village Jamena, on the territory of Srijem diocese.

Caritas of the Apostolic Exarchate collected 329.430 RSD in 13 parishes and food, clothes and shoes in the value of 234.750 RSD.

Caritas of Belgrade Archbishopic collected money, food, hygiene products and clothes in the total value of 400.000 RSD ca.

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