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28. Jun: Serving Serbians in need

“28. Jun” is an international humanitarian organization that has a special consultative status with the ECOSOC (Economic & Social Council) of the United Nations. The organization consists of a team whose volunteers range from the top to the bottom; more than 98% of all donated funds go directly to the families in need.

It was founded in 2010 by Filip Filipi and a group of people from the Serbian diaspora. They wanted it to be a political, social, and philanthropic endeavor to help Serbians in any way possible.

They do their work for the Serbian people across the territory of the former Yugoslavia, assisting disadvantaged families, the sick, and the tragedy struck. 28. Jun frequently delivers to families of veterans and of victims of war, including some people who have had to start their lives over twice DUE to wars in the region. They also provide significant aid to healthcare institutions which included medical equipment and supplies. 28. Jun has done deliveries to geriatric facilities, hospitals, medicals clinics, and many more.

These people in 28. Jun were frustrated with seeing people in their country suffering and wanted to help where they could, ensuring that the help got directly into the hands of those who needed it most. As of this year, 28. Jun has delivered approximately 184 million tons of medical aid, disaster relief, and humanitarian aid to the western Balkan regions.

I’ve been fortunate to work alongside individuals at 28. Jun who have a strong sense of selflessness and courage, as well as an overwhelming passion to help those in need, regardless of where they come from. A significant amount of these individuals use their own resources to deliver relief aid across the western Balkans, even in some instances delivering aid to refugees in Kosovo, an incredibly dangerous part of the region. I have heard stories of 28. Jun aid workers driving through Kosovo, forced to circumvent dangerous obstacles like landmines or soldiers who threaten to rape and kill them. These stories, although common, give evidence to the strength and courage of 28. Jun volunteers and members.

After spending a couple of days with aid delivery for 28. Jun I managed to ask some of the volunteers why they are so passionate about helping people and while their responses were unique, they all seemed to speak to a unified vision.

I spoke to Tamara Hadzi-Palovic, Executive Director for 28. Jun, and she passionately described why she volunteered: “I decided to get involved six years ago because humanitarian work runs through my veins. Throughout my time with 28. Jun I have been able to participate in changing the lives of hundreds of people who are fighting to survive. To all Serbians living in the diaspora, nanos gigantum humeris insidentes. Remember that you wouldn’t be where you are today if it weren’t for your Serbian ancestors who sacrificed so much.”

Jelisaveta Tomovic, 28. Jun director for Western Europe, has always wanted to help the people in Serbia because she knows how it feels to lose things dear to her. “During the war, my mother’s side of the family lost everything in Croatia and had to move to Serbia as the Croatian military came and told them to leave. The people in Serbia and Montenegro [were] always so generous to me even though they have virtually nothing.” Jelisaveta’s heartfelt and emotional story was heartbreaking to hear, and it became quite clear why she chose to work with 28. Jun.

Andjelka Popov, a project manager for 28. Jun, said, “I wanted to help people and be certain that the help was going directly into the hands of those who needed it the most. Volunteering for 28. Jun gave me the experience that I wished for. I have been apart of so many aid and relief deliveries and find great pleasure in being able to see the relief, happiness, and gratitude on people’s faces.”

These compelling personal stories and experiences with 28. Jun inspired me to be a part of this dedicated humanitarian organization. I was pessimistic initially, naturally skeptical of charities who swipe huge portions of donations for themselves, with very little money going to the people who need it. However, 28. Jun is not one of those places and even though I was only able to assist with four aid/relief deliveries, I was absolutely excited and proud to be able to represent an organization which is so dedicated to maintaining the dignity, passion, and humanity of the enduring human spirit.

If you would like to donate or volunteer for 28. Jun please check out their website at www.28jun.org.

Curtis Albers is a former Army Ranger who currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

28. Jun

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