What is the poorest region in Serbia

Serbia: Poverty is growing in structurally weak areas

The southern Serbian municipality of Kursumlija is one of the poorest in the whole country. The number of people living below the subsistence level has increased dramatically in recent years. Several companies have closed, hundreds of employees have lost their jobs and thus many families have a regular income.

One example is the Nestorovic family of six from Kursumlija. Her only income is 5,000 dinars, around 60 euros: child benefit for four children. The Nestorovic couple describe their situation: The man is unemployed, from the low child benefit they can only buy the bare essentials for the children - flour and bread. “We are afraid for our children, for their existence, because in our situation we cannot offer them anything. We can't plan anything either. I am sorry when I see other people buying their children and I can't. In summer I can still earn something, but in winter we only have child benefit, ”said the couple.

Hunger without a soup kitchen

The poorest members of this community only receive a one-off benefit, which in most cases does not exceed a few thousand dinars. In the meantime the soup kitchen has also stopped working, and thus several hundred of the poorest residents of Kursumlija have been deprived of a free meal a day. One of the victims describes the consequences: “My children and we are all starving now. At least we had lunch with the soup kitchen. We were able to divide up breakfast and dinner somehow. Now we have nothing left. The neighbors sometimes give us a piece of meat, we somehow get bread. I go cleaning and get a little money. The soup kitchen meant a lot to us, especially for the children, and I have three. "One of the poorest residents of the town complained:" Until recently we ate in the soup kitchen, now we have nothing left. We don't get along well, sometimes I don't eat anything for two days. "

No public help

According to the local Red Cross representative, Miki Nikolic, it is necessary to first conduct a full investigation and determine how many people in the community are living below subsistence level. “We have to record the situation on site and use this as a basis to calculate the needs of these people. And then present the result to the municipal administration and also ask the government in Belgrade for support, ”said Nikolic. However, such a study has not yet been carried out on the number and needs of the poorest people in Kursumlija. The residents of Kursumlija cannot hope for public support: the local self-government has no programs and no financial resources from which projects to fight poverty could be paid for.

Ljiljana Danilovic