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Press conference regarding the visit of the Secretary General of Caritas Europa

In the residence of Belgrade Archbishopric on 27th of November a press conference related to the visit of the Secretary General of Caritas Europa Jorge Nuño Mayer was held. Mr. Nuño Mayer has a long experience of work in Caritas, on the parish, diocesan and national level and, in the past four years also in Caritas Europa, on the position for which he was elected for another mandate. Caritas Europa unites 46 national Caritas on our continent and, after Caritas Internationalis, represents the most important institution of the Caritas network. The headquarters of Caritas Europa is in Brussels, near the European parliament.

Other than Mr. Nuño Mayer at the conference were present also Belgrade Archbishop and President of Caritas Serbia Msgr. Stanislav Hočevar, National coordinator of Caritas Serbia Darko Tot and Caritas Programe Coordinator Daniel Galun.

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Belgrade Archbishop Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar had the opening statement, in which he pointed out that this year our Caritas was close to everyone who were in great needs after the floods.

«Caritas didn’t just give aid to the flooded areas, but the persons, people, because Caritas is always close the people and puts the persons on the first place», said the Archbishop.

He also spoke about the Caritas Sunday, which is celebrated every year in our parishes:

«Every year our Church is celebrating a special day, a special Caritas Sunday, right before Christmas. I will celebrate this Sunday, 14th of December, in Sabac, where our Caritas worked the most. There will be celebrated also a Holy Mass for all those people who lost their lives during the floods and we will also pray for all the people in need and try to invite everyone to a bigger solidarity and, first of all, try to awaken the voluntary work among all our faithful and all the people of good will which is a great task for all of us».

Msgr. Hocevar added that on this day we have a special chance to thank Mr. Nuño Mayer for the trust that was given to Caritas Serbia, which will be part of the executive board of Caritas Europa.

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The speech of the Secretary General of Caritas Europa:

«It’s a great pleasure for me that I can represent here the network of Caritas, which is present in more than 160 countries all over Europe. This is not a centralized network, it exists in every country in order to give support to the people in need. It’s a great pleasure that from next year Caritas Serbia will be in part of the Executive board of Caritas Europa. I’m very glad that these days I could see a great acknowledgement, on one hand from the Government, but on the other hand also a recognition of the Serbian people for all that Caritas has done, especially through this support to people affected by floods, but also for what Caritas has done all this years, in terms of home care, in assistance to people with mental health problems. This recognition is a great motivation for Caritas Serbia to continue, but it’s also a sign of dialogue of Caritas and the society of your country.

One of the main elements of the Caritas attention is the development of solidarity in the society, so Caritas is not only the expression of the financial aid coming from abroad, but it’s an expression of solidarity of the people here present. In this context Caritas is much more than an NGO, it has the mission not only to give a professional service, but to promote local engagement. For this reason it is a chalenge for Caritas to grow on the most direct – parish level, because it is in the direct contact with the people in need, as a dimension of the community. In that context we are working on what is the most deepest value of the European union, which is solidarity. The more that Caritas Serbia will serve this country the more it can contribute to the European project. The better that Caritas Serbia will grow in this dimensions the more the solidarity from other countries will come to Serbia, through Caritas».

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Daniel Galun, Caritas Program Coordinator, spoke about the Rehabilitation project of assistance to people from the flooded areas:

«Three months ago Caritas started the Rehabilitation program. This program comes after the most urgent phase. Till now we helped 450 households by giving them construction material, with the value bigger than 350.000 EUR, in 11 municipalities of Western and Central Serbia. Caritas is unique in assisting the flooded, because it takes special care of the winter program. In this winter program it helps 800 households in these 11 municipalities in heating, with briquettes and stoves. This Caritas help is not only a help to the flooded population, but it’s also a help to the local economy, cause the stoves are bought in the local factory Alfa plam and the briquettes also.

A few years ago we were giving heating wood for the heating, but now we are using briquettes, which are more acceptable ecologically, so it was important to promote the concept of environmental protection through this distribution. Except this, in four most affected municipalities, like Obrenovac, Krupanj, Sabac and Valjevo, on the local level we established the teams, made out of a social worker, a psychologist and nurses, who give psycho-social support to the affected population and the number of people they helped is around 1000 families in these four municipalities.»

«The Caritas assistance, excluding the Rehabilitation project, was around one million euros, like we said on the last conference in June. This aid continued, so that from the start of the floods till now the total value of the assistance is around 2 million euro», added Darko Tot, Coordinator of Caritas Serbia.

Mr. Jorge Nuño Mayer spoke about the Pope’s visit to the European parliament in Strasbourg, on which he attended right before coming to Serbia.

»What Pope said to the European parliamentarians is an encouragement to continue and foster the dialogue with the Balkan countries, countries seeking for peace and development. In that sense I felt that my trip to Serbia was put in a new context and I felt that the Pope himself send me. Another strong impression I felt from the Pope is his invitation to the politicians to put people in the center whenever they are making decisions. On one hand it means looking at a person as an individual in the realization of his individual human rights, but also to see a person as a part of a community and take care of the common good. This is one of the values that need to exist in decision making. Certain decisions are often motivated by economic reasons and these kind of decisions don’t put the person in the center. The closing message of the Pope is an encouragement to the European politicians to continue with their work on the European project.

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Representatives of Caritas in the Directorate for the Cooperation with the Churches and Religious Communities

The delegation of Caritas consisting of Belgrade Archbishop and President of Caritas Serbia Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar, the Director of Caritas Serbia Rev. Vladislav Varga and the National Cordinator of Caritas Serbia Darko Tot, together with the Secretary General of Caritas Europa Jorge Nuño Mayer, visited the Directorate for the Cooperation with the Churches and Religious Communities, where they met with the Director Mr. Mileta Radojević. On this occasion Mr. Radojević presented the activities of the Directorate and thanked Caritas for the support during May floods, in which this organisation gave her maximum effort and provided aid to numerous flooded people. Secretary General Mr. Nuño Mayer thanked Mr. Radojević for the hospitality and the funds allocated from the budget of the Directorate to help the Catholic Church. After that he presented the structure and the activities of Caritas as an international humanitarian organisation. During the meeting the participants exchanged opinions about the possibilities of collaboration of the Directorate and Caritas in the field of social issues, peace building and building good relations between different groups in our society.

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Humanitarian aid for flooded areas

Secretary General of Caritas Europa visited the Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Serbia

Secretary General of Caritas Europa Jorge Nuño Mayer had a meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic od Serbia Msgr. Orlando Antonini, accompanied by the Director of Caritas Serbia Rev. Vladislav Varga. In the beginning of the meeting the Secretary general of Caritas Europa Mr. Nuño Mayer presented the network of Caritas in Europe. During the conversation the  interlocutors stressed the importance of the national office of Caritas Serbia, as an integrative element and a bond between all diocesan Caritas in Serbia, which is why it must be supported by others. At the same time Mr. Jorge Nuño Mayer underlined that Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis have their communication and support only with the national office of Caritas, which represents the guarantee of standard and security of the donations on the international level.


Representatives of Caritas in the Ministry of Work, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues

Secretary General of Caritas Europa Jorge Nuño Mayer visited the Ministry of Work, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues on 26th of November, together with the Rev. Vladislav Varga, Director of Caritas Serbia and Darko Tot, National coordinator of Caritas, where they had a meeting with the State secretaries Laslo Čikoš and Nenad Ivanišević.

During this visit Mr. Laslo Čikoš presented the activities of the Ministery, the challenges that they are facing and the areas that can be critical for the social situation in Serbia in the next period. Secretary General of Caritas Europa than presented the structure of Caritas Europa and the activities of Caritas in our country, with special emphasis on the area of home care of elderly individuals. Dr Nenad Ivanišević highlighted the successful cooperation has had with Caritas in Subotica, in the period when he was the director of Gerontology center in this city. During the meeting the participants talked about the possible cooperation between the Ministry and Caritas on the project of common interest.

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A visit of the Secretary General of Caritas Europa to Serbia

Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa, visited Belgrade on 26th and 27th of November. During this visit he met with the representatives of Caritas Serbia, but also with representatives of State institutions, Belgrade Archbishop and President of Caritas Serbia Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar and the Apostolic nuncio in the Republic of Serbia Msgr. Orlando Antonini.

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Caritas became a member of the Commission of Obrenovac municipality for working with humanitarian organisations

Expressing the gratitude and recognising the commitment of Caritas in assisting people affected by the May floods, the Obrenovac municipality invited Caritas to be a part of a special Comission, which will unite the work of all the humanitarian organisations in this Municipality, gathering information about the necessary assistance and the possible sources of funding.

Meeting of a work group of Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis in Belgrade


A meeting of a work group of Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis for the Caritas development fund took place in Belgrade on 17th and 18th of November 2014, on which eight representatives of different national Caritas from Europe and the Managing Director of Caritas Internationalis Jacob Winter were present. Caritas Europe was represented by Annamária Vrzáčková and Miriam Pikaar, while Caritas Serbia was represented by the national coordinator Darko Tot.  A day before the meeting, on Sunday, 16th of November, the representatives of the Caritas network met Belgrade Archbishop and President of Caritas Serbia Msgr. Stanislav Hočevar, who introduced them with the activities of Caritas in Serbia. During the work group the participants were discussing about the management standards of Caritas Internationalis, as also about the development fund, which has the goal to strengthen the national Caritas and make them more self sustainable.

A meeting with the representatives of diocesan Caritas in Serbia

The representatives of Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Europa and Caritas Austria met on 19th of November with the directors and coordinators of diocesan Caritas in Serbia and with the representatives of the national office of Caritas Serbia, to introduce them with the new management standards, a fruit of common work of the organizations members of the Caritas network. In this occasion they represented the structures of the networks of Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis, as also the way of decision making inside these networks, strategic goals and priorities and the fields of common interest. The representatives of Caritas network gave their advises and suggestions for future steps to take in the development of Caritas in Serbia and in the use of the international standards.

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The mission of Caritas is the protection and the promotion of the dignity of every human being, which is reflected in different types of support and assistance. The people from the flooded areas, other than the evident material assistance, also need psycho-social support, because of the difficult situation they got through and the consequences they are still facing. For this reason Caritas organized psycho-social support for around 1.000 households affected by floods, with the financial support of Caritas Germany.


This type of support is given through four mobile flood teams, which are made of one social worker, a psychologist and two nurses, who give free counseling services (social, psychological, health, legal, etc.) and home care for elderly vulnerable individuals. Each team is active in one of these municipalities: Obrenovac (city and two local villages), Šabac (city and four local villages); Valjevo (city and three local villages), i Krupanj (Krupanj town and local villages).

The experience of Caritas mobile flood team from Obrenovac shows that, in the beggining, there was a dose of mistrust towards them, but also that it changed quickly – people are now glad to have them visit their homes, they want to tell them what has happened and express their gratitude for the fact that someone remembered them and listen to them. The experience has shown that people who went through difficult situations have most resistance towards psychological support, because there is a fear from thinking that they have psychical difficulties. Unfortunately there are also many people who are taking medicine against a serious form of anxiety, like bromazepam, on their own, which is a disturbing fact.

The type of assistance accepted in the best way is the medical support, people gladly accepted helpful advises for their health and the proper care. Medical staff of the team is trying to give adequate assistance to all the people in need, because sometimes even apparently impossible things are easy to resolve having the right people near.

CARITAS rehabilitation project for helping the flooded areas

Caritas rehabilitation project in the flooded municipalities: Krupanj, Ub, Sabac, Obrenovac, Valjevo, Lajkovac, Lazarevac, Svilajnac, Paracin, Topola and Jagodina includes: the distribution of construction material for over 400 families, the use of dryers and the distribution of briquettes and stoves. The project started on 1st of August and will last till 28th of February 2015. The means for the realization of this project have been provided through donations of the countries members of the Caritas network.


The Caritas aid is directed to the most vulnerable households, like: single-person households, elderly people, multi-member households (with five or more members), persons with disabilities, single parents and families who have children with disabilities.


Till now in the municipalities foreseen by the Rehabilitation project construction material was distributed for 350 families in the value up to 1.000 EUR per household, depending on the size of the damage. In the future period this type of assistance will be given to additional 70 families. In five municipalities (Krupanj, Šabac, Valjevo, Lajkovac, Obrenovac) other than the Caritas field officer, the flooded households were visited by a construction expert, in order to assess the damage and advise them on the purchase of necessary construction materials. The use of dryers, provided by Caritas Germany and Caritas Austria, is continuing.


Study visit to Serbia within the project Societies

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Within the project SOCIETIES a study visit was organized from 11 to 13 March, aiming to exchange experiences and examples of good practice in the field of social inclusion between civil society organizations (CSOs)participating in the project. Representatives of 15 CSOs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo, together…

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Recognition of Caritas Serbia work on disaster risk reduction

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Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina and Caritas Serbia recently received recognition for their exceptional work in disaster risk reduction. On March 1stthey were awarded by the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina for supporting disaster risk reduction in their respective countries and co-operating across borders. Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina’s main contribution was…

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English language classes for refugees in Bujanovac

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Caritas psycho-social support team from Bujanovac Reception Center organises lessons of English language for refugees and migrants, every day, from Monday to Friday. The participants are divided into three groups, in relation to their previous knowledge. They attend classes regularly, with the goal to master the language better. The members…

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