IDC recently had the opportunity to be part of a human and inspiring humanitarian action in Cacak. Our friend Katarina Matić, from Čačak, who has been living and working in New York for a long time, contacted us so that we could organize an action together in which she would donate clothes, furniture, appliances and other things to a socially endangered family.
The motive behind this action was not overambitious in the beginning, it all started with a simple holiday cleaning of an apartment. Separating things that she no longer uses, but which are in good condition, Katarina wanted to do something good for herself, but also for others. When we made a list of things that Katarina would like to donate, we contacted the Center for Social Welfare in Cacak, with which we cooperate, and they referred us to a family that is most in need of the things we have prepared.
This was a family of a single mother N.N. who has two daughters aged 7 and 10. The three of them live in an informal settlement near the City Hospital in Čačak in very bad conditions. N.N. is unemployed because of her daughter’s health issues and does not manage to balance work and family care. N.N. relies on the help of her neighbours and close friends, who have temporarily lent her furniture and household appliances.
For days, we packed things together that we no longer carry, dishes from the top shelf that we never use, toys and books that we outgrew. We packed everything in the car and drove the first round over to the family. On that occasion, we met N.N. and the girls and saw the space in which they currently reside. Although they try to keep everything clean and tidy, they lack basic furniture, and the building itself is in a very bad condition and does not represent a safe place to live. On this occasion, we made a plan to pass on furniture that is no longer needed to this family, and we also talked with N.N. about the possibilities for solving her housing issue through one of the housing support programs within a project that IDC is currently implementing in Cacak.
We continued the action next weekend when we hired a team that delivered a stove, a microwave, a work and dining table and chairs, a closet and three couches, among other things to N.N. and the girls.
Although all this may seem simple, in fact, many factors in this story required a good preparation. First of all, it was extremely important to find the motivation to separate ourselves from things that no longer have a function for us, and then to think in a way that they can be useful to someone else. Then it was necessary to rely on the knowledge of the local community and people in need, which are always too many. However, when our possibilities are limited, we need someone to help us choose one family, which at that moment is in the greatest need for what we offer. In this, it was of great importance to us that the Center for Social Work proposed this family to us so that the help would go to the right hands.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful action. We hope that this action will inspire other people to look at their closets and pantries and follow our example, doing good for themselves and others.
Katarina has a long history of humanitarian work. She has volunteered in New York with vulnerable populations, in a homeless shelter, worked with organizations and the government on anti-trafficking projects, and worked with children who cannot attend a regular school program.