Caritas Serbia was established in 1995 to provide care and support to the vast number of people exiled from their homes and the large number of refugees arriving as a result of the civil war in the Balkan region. In these years Caritas Serbia provided assistance in food, fuel, shelter to thousands of people. Four years later, Caritas Serbia provided help after the NATO bombing destroyed hundreds of homes leaving thousands people without food and shelter. Caritas Serbia responded with a 3 year project known as SAO to distribute family packages, wood-burning stoves and firewood and assisted social centres, hospitals, nursing homes and children’s institutions. The estimation is that since it’s foundation in 1995 till 2000 in different ways Caritas Serbia helped over 2 million people.
Today, they continue their mission of bringing effective help to those most in need through programmes such as humanitarian aid and relief, home care for the sick and elderly, advocating for rights of people in area of mental care, youth drug prevention, peacebuilding programmes and disaster risk reduction.
At home or abroad, Caritas Serbia organises humanitarian aid and emergency relief to those affected by natural disasters or conflict, such as floods, landslides and earthquakes. Such was the case in 2011 when Caritas Serbia immediately responded with supplies when an epic 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck the north-east coast of Japan in March, 2011, killing thousands and sweeping away homes leaving 300,000 people homeless without food, clean water and electricity. For the first time Caritas Serbia organised a fundraising campaign and gathered about 14.000 Euro worth of help which was sent to the affected region. Similar action was taken after an earthquake in Italy when about 5.000 Euro was collected and sent. In 2005 and 2006 Caritas Serbia organised fundraising campaigns in order to help the poeple affected by the floods and landslides in Serbia. The action covered about one thousand of the families in numerous regions of Serbia. The help consisted of basic food, hygienic and construction supplies. In 2014 record rains caused historic flooding in Serbia and Caritas organised another fundraising campaing within the country, collecting 20,000 Euro worth of help. The aid for this project came also from the members of the Caritas network. With all this it was possible for Caritas Serbia to assist over 20,000 households affected by floods and landslides, with: basic food and hygiene items, construction material, electric appliances, heating briquettes and stoves, food vouchers, aid for the farmers and psycho-social support.
In 2016, after a series of damaging earthquakes in Italy, Caritas Serbia organised another fundraising campaign, collecting 12.000 euros for helping the population affected.
After the floods in 2014 Caritas Serbia started the Disaster risk reduction program, which consists in working with local communities on disaster preparedness and prevention, creating a network of stakeholders on the national and regional level and organising educational activities in schools for the youngest generations.
Starting from 2015 Caritas Serbia had to face another emergency project, related to the refugee crisis on the Balkan route. Since then Caritas Serbia was active in providing assistance to refugees and migrants, consisting in: food and hygiene items, clothes, shoes, sleeping bags, contributing to the maintainance and renovating of the refugee centers and providing psycho-social support.
Collaboration with Caritas members and other donors is a hallmark of Caritas Serbia. In early 2000s, the organisation embarked on a partnership with Caritas Italy to establish the first mental health programme to influence the improvement of psychiatric care of those suffering from mental disorders, depression and schizophrenia; rescuing them from deplorable living conditions, abandoned by their families and institutions.
Caritas Serbia social programmes have been oriented towards refugees and internally displaced persons from Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the local population in social need. Their Home Care programme, supported mainly by Caritas Germany, upgrades the life quality of the elderly that are sick, alone and physically handicapped. Visiting nurses and household assistants travel to their homes to measure blood pressure, change their clothes, help them wash, provide physiotherapy, housekeeping, bring groceries and provide transportation.
Since 2006 Caritas Serbia is working on peacebuilding, by organising meetings of religious leaders, religion teachers and students and bringing emphasis to the culutral heritage of different ethnic and religious groups. The activity also involved working with young people in conflict areas of Serbia, on topics common to different etnic and religious groups, such as drug prevention.
Caritas Serbia main office is in Belgrade and serves as the focal point for the 5 Caritas diocesan offices throughout Serbia. In total depending on projects Caritas employs approximately 100 people and has a network of few hundred volunteers.
Caritas Serbia is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Europe and actively collaborates and receives support from the global Caritas confederation.
Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar
Rev. Ivica Damjanovic
Mr Darko Tot
Vojvode Stepe 78 / lok.5
11 000 Belgrade,