The representatives of Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, UniCredit Foundation, UniCredit bank, Novi Sad Humanitarian Center and Vizija, today unveiled the results of a joint project, "Rural and Agricultural Integration in Supportive Environment” (RAISE).
It is a fact that inadequate housing, unemployment, social exclusion and lack of information are major obstacles in the integration of refugees and internally displaced persons in Serbia. In order to support these people in the process of their integration, Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, UniCredit Foundation and UniCredit Bank launched the RAISE project in January 2009. The RAISE project has been conducted on the territory of Serbia. For its implementation UniCredit Foundation has provided funding in the amount of 515 thousand euros, and thanks to this funds 139 familiesis involved in this project.
The housing problems of the families were previously solved through the initiative of Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation.
Families were awarded grants, provided by UniCredit Foundation, of up to 2,000 euros intended to initiate activities that would enable them to be economically independent. In addition to financial assistance, the support of economists, agronomists and psychologists was provided to the families through the assistance in writing business plans, expert advice, monitoring the development of their work and constant encouragement. In most cases the grants were provided the agricultural activites, and also the significant number of grants for starting a craft and services, as well as grants from the agricultural service domain.
Mr. Claudio Cezario, CEO of UniCredit Bank Serbia, said: "We are proud to be the part of this important project for the third consecutive year. The project aims to draw attention to one of the most important issues of our time - migration. The continuous support that we provide to the families of refugees and displaced persons in Serbia in the process of their integration into society, is another proof of our responsibility and commitment to fostering sustainable development of local communities in Serbia, but also an indicator of strategic and long-term commitment to this country UniCredit and its people. "
Ms. Snezana Divac, President of the Board of Directors of Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation said, "RAISE project is one of the few which helps refugees and internally displaced persons to integrate into society, to solve their housing problems, unemployment and social exclusion . We are pleased because we established the long-term partnership with UniCredit Bank and UniCredit Foundation. Through our collaborative efforts, we managed to find a way to encourage and motivate these families to move over and to become independent. The results speak for themselves. "
THE RESULTS OF THE "RAISE" PROJECT
The results are more than satisfactory and the progress of the families is evident :
90% of families have successfully developed their own business and achieved revenues that bring them above the poverty line, making them economically independent.
100% of families were successfully integrated into the new environment, the psychological status of the family has been greatly improved, as well as community acceptance.
The families, that used to live in collective centers and were pessimistic, apathic and hopeless, became the families that are happy, full of energy, with restored self-respect.
As part of the research and evaluation of different projects and models on the topic of migrant entrepreneurship, the European Commission has included the Project of Rural and Agricultural Integration in Supportive Environment (RAISE) among the best 20 projects in Europe in the field of promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and integration of refugees and internally displaced persons.