Social welfare

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The City of Belgrade Cancelled Meals in the Soup Kitchen for a Number of Residents of Container Settlements

According to information obtained from residents of some container settlements in Belgrade, the Secretariat for Social Welfare cancelled the meals in the Soup Kitchen for residents of the settlements Makis 2, Jabucki Rit and Barajevo and a part of the container settlement in Mali Leskovac. According to information of the Roma Children’s Centre, the meals for the residents of the settlement Kijevo will also be cancelled as of 1 June 2013.

Makis 2
The residents of the settlement Makis 2 found out about the cancellation of the meals only after they went to take over the meals in the Soup Kitchen. On 27 May 2013 they did not receive any information about the reasons for cancellation of meals in the Soup Kitchen. The Cukarica Department of the City Social Welfare Centre referred them to the Secretariat for Social Welfare. Besides, A.G, S.S, S. J. and S.D, residents of the settlement Makis 2, informed us that representatives of the Cukarica Department of the City Social Welfare Centre threatened to take their children away from them if they could not provide existential minimum for themselves.

Through a phone conversation with the Deputy Secretary for Social Welfare Aleksandra Krstic, Praxis was informed that the reason for cancellation of meals for residents of container settlements lay in the fact that they had obtained documents and that, thus, it was “no longer the obligation of the Secretariat to ensure the use of the Soup Kitchen, but that the residents of the settlements should address the Social Welfare Centre and sign up for the Soup Kitchen.”

Jabucki Rit
According to information from the Roma Centre for Women and Children “Daje” and the Roma Children’s Centre, all families in the Jabucki Rit settlement have stopped receiving meals in the Soup Kitchen. There are 18 families in this settlement, including 4 pregnant women, 8 babies and 17 children. According to obtained information, most children in the settlement are presently ill. One resident of the settlement, R.K, who suffers from a chronic illness, as well as diabetes, is currently under treatment in hospital after his health condition worsened. In addition, residents M.S. and H.A. requested emergency medical assistance several days ago. This settlement is extremely far away from Palilula municipality, and is inhabited also by persons with unregulated status issues, who therefore cannot exercise the right to social protection.

Due to all the above-mentioned, we believe that the residents of this settlement are the most affected by the latest developments.

Kijevo
According to information that the Children’s Centre “Mali Princ” received from the residents of the settlement, their meals in the Soup Kitchen will be cancelled as of 1 June 2013. However, one of the residents of this settlement claims the contrary, i.e. that there is no problem in this settlement with exercising the right to meals through the Secretariat for Social Welfare.

Barajevo
According to information of the Roma Children’s Centre, on 28 May 2013, the meals have been cancelled for residents of this settlement who do not receive cash social assistance.

Other container settlements in Belgrade
Due to the impossibility to contact residents of all container settlements over the phone, we cannot establish with certainty whether the problem referring to provision of meals through the Secretariat for Social Welfare is present in all container settlements. However, according to available information, it may be concluded that the situation is alarming and urgent reaction is needed.

Background to the problem
According to the provisions of the articles 69-71 of the Decision on the rights and social protection services of the City of Belgrade, the right to free meal can be exercised by an individual and his/her family if they are beneficiaries of the cash social assistance. Exceptionally, this rights may also be exercised by persons whose monthly income per household member does not exceed 50% minimum salary for the month preceding the month in which the request has been submitted, on condition that these persons:

  • Are elderly and infirm, whose relatives are not able to provide them with this type of assistance
  • Have within their family a person who exercises the right to care allowance

Bearing in mind that container settlements are home to a certain number of  persons who do not have their status regulated, as well as that the procedure for exercise of the right to cash social assistance lasts from 4 to 6 months on average, that it demands a large number of documents and is complicated, residents of the container settlements who have been cancelled meals in the Soup Kitchen which were provided by the Secretariat for Social Welfare of the City of Belgrade are not able to provide existential minimum for themselves and their family members on their own.

The report has been prepared by:
Praxis
Roma Centre for Women and Children “Daje”
Roma Children’s Centre 
Regional Minority Centre
Children’s Centre “Mali princ”

Download the Report
Download the Announcement of the City Administration on cancelling the meals in the soup kitchen for residents of container settlements (Serbian only)

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