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Ana Šaćipović is a social worker from Serbia who advocates for the rights of Roma women, fighting prejudice and discrimination. In 2005, she founded the Osvit (Dawn) Roma Association, an NGO which supports and promotes women's interests throughout the community and beyond.
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Teodora Stojilković, 18, is a student and women’s right activist from Bujanovac, Serbia. She was one of the ambassadors of the “Women Talk” campaign, supported by UN Women, and is currently serving as a WAVE Youth Ambassador as part of the EU-UN Women regional programme on ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey that targets changing social norms.
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“Women’s organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 response continue to adapt and provide vital services for survivors, even in the face of unprecedented challenges. As violence against women rises, the services offered by women’s organizations must be included in governments’ COVID-19 response packages,” said Aldijana Sisic, Chief of the UN Trust Fund.
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Slavica Vasić is the chair and one of the founders of BIBIJA Roma Women's Centre in Serbia, a partner of the EU-UN Women regional programme “Ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey: Implementing Norms, Changing Mind”. She spoke to UN Women about the impact of COVID-19 on Roma women and girls and vulnerable groups in Serbia and in the region, and how the lives of many women will change after the outbreak.
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In an undisclosed location in Sombor, Serbia, 41-year-old Marija Tomic* is putting the finishing stitches on face masks. She has made hundreds of these fabric masks since Serbia declared the COVID-19 epidemic in March. Tomic is a survivor of domestic violence and lives in a safe house for women survivors. “I got support in this society when I needed it most and now it feels great to give something back,” she said. “It's a wonderful feeling to be able to provide a little help...
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Milica Gudović is an activist of the Citizens Association for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and All Forms of Gender-Based Violence (ATINA). Here she speaks about the work of ATINA which is supported by UN Women with funding from the European Union. With vocational training and business skills, the organization helps survivors of trafficking to reintegrate into society, become independent and and earn an income. ATINA also provides psychosocial support, legal aid and safe-houses for the survivors of trafficking.
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Milena Zindovic is an urban planner and gender expert and member of the Association of Women Architects in Serbia. Zindovic, with the support of UN Women studied current waste management practices in Serbian households to understand the role of women in both waste creation and management. The study will be used by UN Women to create targeted campaigns to raise awareness of waste management and climate action among women and their communities.
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Princess Eugenie of York visited grantees of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) in Belgrade, Serbia and was introduced to the work of organizations that are changing the lives of victims/survivors of trafficking in persons for the better.
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By making jam, a woman-run organization is earning money to improve the inclusion of children with disabilities, while also building a whole community of support and encouragement.
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In the 1990s, Marija Andjelkovic worked at a call centre for girls experiencing violence, when she received a training on human trafficking. In those days, trafficking was not a known, researched and understood phenomenon in Serbia which left an institutional vacuum in addressing the needs of survivors. She was one of the first civil society activists to raise the issue of human trafficking in the Balkan region, and went on to become the founder and Director of the Serbian NGO, ASTRA-Anti trafficking action.
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A recent study has uncovered that women, like Edith, with mental disabilities who are being held in Serbia’s institutions often suffer multiple forms of violence.
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In rural Serbia, where the political and economic landscape is primarily dominated by men and few women participate in decision-making, local Women Councilors Networks set up with support from UN Women are challenging the status quo.
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UN Women and the EU will aim to reform policies in line with international standards, transfrom dicriminatory social norms and empower women and girls subjected to violence.
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The “Good Garden” is a social enterprise for growing organic vegetables, and also a training centre for organic production for women survivors of domestic violence who wish to get involved in this sustainable farming method.
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UN Women in Serbia joined the global 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign by installing a giant interactive SOS telephone in Belgrade’s main square as a wake-up call for violence against women and girls.
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Complete with Middle Eastern music, smells of home-cooked recipes and plenty of smiling faces, Women’s Corner officially opened its doors in Belgrade.
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Governments should ensure refugee women’s participation in decisions that affect them, say participants at UN Women-Oxfam “Women on the Move” workshop.
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Despite gender-sensitive good practices, a UN Women assessment found that response-planning, services, protection capacity and information are not yet sufficient to meet the needs of migrant women and girls in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
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With support from UN Women, women leaders in the Balkans are putting gender issues at the centre of politics and fueling women’s empowerment in order to bring peace and stability to the region.
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Presentation by Michelle Bachelet and Julia Duncan-Cassell at the high-level side event on the COMMIT Initiative, 5 March, 2013, in New York.