DJURDJEVDAN BELA PALANKA
The Association of Citizens "Djurdjevdan" has been active in Bela Palanka Municipality since 2001, aiming at assisting the Roma and non-Roma population in educational, health, and social aspects of their lives. At the moment, 19 people of different professions and age are engaged in the implementation of the activities, with the same aim - helping those who really need help. The project "Counselling for the Children up to the Age of 3 and the Children with Special Needs and Their Mothers", which was funded by UNHCR, targeted 220 children younger than 3, and those with special needs, irrespectively of age. The project was realised in cooperation with ICS, by two medical teams consisting of a doctor and a nurse, and a psychologist. The aim of the project was education and prevention, as well as the empowerment of Roma mothers and children. The Association "Djurdjevdan" works on the implementation of the project for the victims of the Nazi terror, catering for the elderly Roma born before 9 May 1945, and supported by IOM. The project is implemented in cooperation with ICS. It targets 100 beneficiaries. A doctor, a nurse and a social club host directly work with the beneficiaries. Apart form the assistance in medicines, food, hygiene items, firewood and emergency financial support, the beneficiaries also get the opportunity to socialise, and thus regain self-respect, as well as enrich their social life. The outings and workshops in the social club are organised for them. The project "Development and Educational Centres in Southeast Serbia", funded by UNICEF, is partly implemented in Bela Palanka. It targets 80 children. Four primary school and two kindergarten teachers, together with Roma assistants, work with them. This "Little School" is for the children 3 - 15 years old, who are mainly Roma. A number of public performances and shows have been organised so far. This was important for the empowerment and the development of creativity of the children. They have also attended the 'recreational school' in Bogovadja, which was the first opportunity for a great number of the children to leave their place of living. The Ministry of Sport and Education funded the project of a winter holiday in Sokobanja for 30 Roma children. It was implemented in 2004, thank to the engagement of the Development Team of "Djurdjevdan". The members of "Djurdjevdan" have organised or participated in a number of seminars. In cooperation with "Timocki klub" from Knjazevac and the Civic Reading Room "Pirgos" from Pirot, we took part in the preparation of the projects "The Strategy for the Reduction of the Poverty of Roma", "Civic Forum", the creation of the strategic action plan of Bela Palanka Municipality, as well as a few projects for the development of the local community. In cooperation with "Friends of the Children of Serbia" and the primary school from Bela Palanka, we have organised the activities during the "Children's Week", as well as seminars for kindergarten, primary and secondary school teachers in our municipality. The members of "Djurdjevdan" actively participate in the work of the local committees for the cooperation with CHF in the village Dolac and in Bela Palanka. The committees prepare project proposals for the infrastructure and the general development of these local communities. The association has cooperated with international agencies and non-governmental organisations, such as UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, CHF, which were donors of the projects implemented in cooperation with ICS Nis Office, "Hi Neighbour" from Belgrade, "Pirgos" from Pirot, and "Timocki klub" from Knjazevac.