Salen Džidić lives with his wife and three children in Novi Pazar, southwest Serbia in his father’s improper house. They are engaged in collecting, drying and selling forest fruits. Salen reached fourth year of studying economics, but because of his difficult financial situation, he had to leave school and go abroad.
The family stayed in Germany for some time in an asylum, but in 2016 they returned to Novi Pazar. Dzidic family was provided with a prefabricated house through the project “Novi Pazar for better living conditions for internally displaced persons and returnees” implemented by the City of Novi Pazar in partnership with the Muslim Humanitarian Society “Merhamet – Sandzak”. The house being built for his family is, as Salen says, “a dream come true”. They expect to move in the house during the summer.
This family is one of many families of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees under the Readmission Agreement whom have been given a chance to start a better life again. The assistance was provided through a grant scheme where 13 projects implemented a series of activities that would contribute to the improving of the living conditions of the internally displaced persons and returnees under the Readmission Agreement in Serbia and supporting for sustainable return to Kosovo * with the help of the EU support.
Implementation and monitoring of grant projects activities was done through the Technical Assistance Project “EU support for the sustainable solutions for internally displaced persons and returnees” which assisted the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia and the Beneficiary Institutions – Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations and the Office for Kosovo and Metohija.
The EU funded these projects with EUR 5,650,000 while the Serbian national budget co-funded it with EUR 350,000. The grant projects are implemented in partnership with local self-governments and international and local civil society organizations, in cooperation with the Office for Kosovo and Metohija and the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration as main beneficiary institutions.
The Technical Assistance Project is implemented by a consortium led by KMOP – Social Action and Innovation Centre – Greece. The activities started in June 2018 and lasted until July 2020.
The activities of the grant projects will last until September 2020.
Eight projects which are implemented in cooperation with the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration provide support for the improvement of the living conditions and social inclusion of IDPs and returnees from readmission process by delivering durable housing solutions, economic sustainability and economic empowerment for IDPs and returnees; social and economic inclusion of IDPs and returnees whom have chosen to stay in Serbia, promoting a sustainable concept of (re)integration of returnees and IDPs. The internally displaced persons and returnees are also receiving: building material packages for housing rehabilitations or repairs; prefabricated or village houses; educational training programs and economic support packages for starting or extending their business activities. The projects are also supporting the implementation of Local Action Plans in Serbia as a mechanism in the decision-making process for reaching long term goals which are important for solving the social inclusion issues of IDPs and returnees, in the areas of housing, employment, health care and education.
Five projects which are implemented in cooperation with the Office for Kosovo and Metohija for the purpose of supporting a sustainable return to Kosovo* are focused on supporting the return through provision of vocational trainings in accordance with the requirements of the labour market, and assistance regarding administrative issues, economic strengthening of the end beneficiaries and supporting sustainable return of those IDPs wishing to return to Kosovo*, as well as an outreach campaign. The internally displaced persons are also receiving: small “grants” for income generation activities and training to start up small businesses or self-employment; returnee assistance packages, transportation and support during their return as well as advisory support regarding concrete possibilities for return. Facilitation of return to Kosovo* for the IDPs willing to return has been supported through these projects as well as complementary social measures for the reintegration post displacement which provide significant changes in the quality of life for this population.
While the activities of the grant projects are still being implemented, by the end of April 2020, significant results were achieved contributing to improvement of IDPs and returnees life.
In cooperation with the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration:
- 21 prefabricated houses delivered, 134 building material packages provided and 29 village houses provided for durable housing solutions to 184 families,
- 86 income generation “grants” distributed for IDPs and returnees,
- 86 people started up own business activity,
- 437 people trained in VET, agricultural activities and safety at work,
- Numerous public events for IDPs and returnees have been organized to provide information on how to receive support, outreach campaigns were organized, with estimated outreach to more than 12,000 people,
- Support to development of 11 Local Action Plans was delivered.
In cooperation with Office for Kosovo and Metohija:
- 67 families were enabled to return to Kosovo*,
- 57 IDPs were supported through “grants” for starting up own businesses or agriculture-oriented activities,
- 97 participants of Go and See visits,
- 67 families supported through return related transport, 67 families received furniture and white goods packages,
- Numerous events were organized with more than 1,000 participants, as well as many informative campaigns that reached more than 40,000 people,
- For 415 IDPs and returnees VET, IT trainings, bus and truck driving courses, and 69 income generation grants (machinery, professional equipment) were distributed.
The EU is the biggest donor of assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees. Since 2001, the EU has donated more than EUR 90 million to support economic independence, decent housing and legal rights of refugees, IDPs and returnees in Serbia.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence