First Giving Day in Serbia – Did we make it?

Do you remember the story about initiative to start first Giving day in Serbia?

This summer, Serbian Philanthropy Forum officially launched this initiative by inviting companies and individuals to help association „Evo ruka“ start the first Inclusive centre in Zemun Polje. The centre is designed as open space in the community, where children with learning difficulties will be provided assistance and where people from Zemun Polje could spend quality time with their neighbours and children that need their support.

Iniative to collect funds took about three months, and was finished with a common volunteer action of arranging space in the Inclusive centre, where over 100 people participated.

Over 8.000 euros were donated in goods and services. Bathroom remains to be equipped and funds to be raised for programme work of the centre, so it could be officially opened.

Action was led by Trag Foundation, in the name of Serbian Philanthropy Forum, and special contribution came from Delta Foundation, Exing B&P, Henkel, Metro, CocaCola, Life design hotel, Telekom Serbia and many others. When large companies join forces, these type of actions can be realised fast, easily and to everyone’s delight.

Marija Mitrović, manager for philanthropy program in Trag Foundation, spoke about the importance of organizing First National Giving Day: By Initiating National Giving Day members of Serbian Philanthropy Forum wanted to provide additional incentive to development of philanthropy and to join forces and support one concrete initiative in Serbia. This action enabled them to demonstrate in action their philanthropy, because in only three months they succeeded in gathering and donating construction materials, equipment and furniture needed for opening local inclusive centre “Mesto susreta” in Zemun Polje.

This is how the story of Giving day was experiences and described by Ana Knežević, one of the founders of the Association and generator of the idea on creating inclusive centre:

To us parents, the future of our children, their inclusion and acceptance in the community is very important. Many of us have children that have no health problems, and which are sometimes more vulnerable than it’s usually thought. We also need support, acceptance, understanding, confirmation that we are doing good things for the community. Children with disabilities are not sick children, their condition is usually permanent and the fight we are fighting, the fears we are facing never go away.

Community centre like local inclusive centre “Mesto susreta” is important not only because of all above mentioned reasons, but also because we will use creativity to develop spirit of inclusion and share our good energy. It’s significant because we want to empower each other, to connect our community.

Considering the difficulty in acquiring financial support from state institutions, our team opted for gathering funds in the local community and connecting with business sector. In order to do this, we realised we needed our visibility enlarged, to draw attention that what we are doing is important and that we need help.

We joined forces with Serbian Philanthropy Forum and after three months of gathering funds for decorating centre Giving Day was organized, for the first time in Serbia, in the yard of the centre. Initiativa that seemed to be mission impossible reached lights of the day. Lovely October day and 100 of little and big people. We organized creative workshops, animations, searched for treasure, planted apples and painted house. Not once did we hear any bad comments, maybe some disbelief. However, with this event we showed everyone that we are here and we want to reside and grow together.

We learnt that:

–       There are people in Serbia who want to give and help, it’s only important that someone starts first

–       Individuals are not aware that even small contributions (1.000RSD) can mean a lot and they think that only the richest should give money.

–       People easily decide to donate goods then money

–          People think that issues of persons with disabilities and inclusion should be addressed by the state and that’s our door to knock on

–          There are no rules, help comes when you are not expecting it and whom you are not expecting it from. You just need to be persistent and straightforward about what your needs are.


Works on the house are not finished and we have more challenges ahead, more community organizing, more giving. We continue to raise funds. Our children need constant support.

You can direct your contribution on the account 205-168077-63 in Commercial bank, with the address of the recipient: Udruženje građana ”Evo ruka”, Dobrovoljnih vatrogasaca 2, Zemun

Our activities can be seen on our website: and on our Facebook page.

We thank Serbian Philanthropy Forum,Trag Foundation, Association “Evo ruka” and Ana Knežević for providing information on First National Giving Day in Serbia.

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Vladica Jovanovic