Combating the causes of migration and building a future: we are helping people in Serbia fulfil their right to determine their own lives through a large number of projects. We build and renovate homes, and we help people to secure livelihoods for themselves and earn a regular income. Our activities are primarily targeted at disadvantaged groups such as Roma. Help us to help them – donate now!
The long shadow of poverty
The Republic of Serbia, formerly part of Yugoslavia, has existed in its current form only since 2006. The 1990s were marked by the war in Bosnia and Kosovo. The after-effects are still noticeable today in politics, the economy and society. Over 80 per cent of the population are Serbs, but there are a large number of minorities, such as Roma, who are spread unevenly across the regions of the country. They continue to suffer from poverty, discrimination and marginalisation.
Economically, Serbia is an EU candidate country on its way to modernisation. But the Serbian economy is still suffering from its socialist legacy and the years of fighting. The vocational education system does not prepare young people properly for the labour market. The consequences: high unemployment and poverty.
The engine of independence
Help has supported thousands of people in Serbia since 1999. Our projects always aim to combat poverty and the causes of migration in the long term. All of the people we support are severely disadvantaged, socially and economically.
Help’s work in Serbia focuses on supporting small businesses. We promote new businesses and train new entrepreneurs in setting up and managing small firms. We also build and renovate houses and apartments to provide members of disadvantaged groups with homes that are fit to live in.
Donors and Partners: AA (Department for Foreign Affairs), ADH (Aktion Deutschland Hilft), Arcanum Stiftung, BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development), Caritas Luxembourg, Delegation of the German Economy in Serbia, German Embassy Belgrade, Deutsch-Serbische Wirtschaftsvereinigung (DSW), European Union,EuropeAid, Hilfswerk der deutschen Lions e.V., SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)
They came to stay
Eleonora Alijevic, her husband and three children travelled to Germany in search of a better future. But the family’s application for asylum was rejected, and they had to return to their home town, Vranje. To make ends meet, her husband gets by with odd jobs from the municipal utility companies. He transports firewood, collects rubbish and takes up any opportunity to earn money.
Eleonora and her husband want to give their children a better future: their youngest daughter is going to primary school, her sister is training as a seamstress, and their son supports them in the household alongside school.
But there’s another “member of the family”, as Eleonora puts it: the Motocultivator. With the small tractor funded by Help, the family can transport large quantities of firewood and earn an income from selling it: without the Motocultivator, the family’s basic income would not be secure. “My husband transports firewood to the town with the tractor almost every day and earns money to pay for our food – we live off it,” says Eleonora.
- 15% of the population are unemployed (2017)
- 44% of the population live in rural areas (2016)
- The most important economic sector: services, which account for almost 50% of GDP (2016)
Sources: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Federal Foreign Office (AA), GIZ
Combating the causes of migration through economic development:
- Provided aid for small businesses to 6,337 families
- Supporting 34 cooperatives that ensure regular incomes
- Provided accommodation for 1,281 families (building conversions, renovations, erecting prefabricated homes)
- Provided economic support to 1,742 Roma families
- Supplied aid to 120,000 refugees in transit by distributing food, hygiene and winter packages with clothing