Psychosocial Support Programme for Refugees in Collective Centres, funded by UNHCR, started in 1995, and was the basis for the development of other projects implemented by ICS in Southeastern Serbia. Skill development and recreational activities were organised in 20 collective centres for the accommodation of refugees: tailoring, hairdressing, carpentry, sports, vegetable growing, cooking, art, ceramics, computer courses, foreign language classes, accounting, C category driving license, etc.
Since 1999, following the NATO intervention in Serbia, the programme was reshaped to integrate the newly arrived internally displaced from Kosovo into it, and to answer their specific needs. The programme is still on-going in 9 municipalities ( Nis, Niska Banja, Aleksinac, Svrljig, Gadzin Han, Leskovac, Vranje, Kursumlija, and Bela Palanka), in cooperation with the local partners: “Nova’ Nis, and “The Society of the Development of Creativity’ Aleksinac. It caters for almost 1,000 refugee and ID children and elderly, offering not only regular weekly activities in workshops, but also ad-hoc events, such as outings, shows, concerts, exhibitions, visits to historical sights, Zoo, etc
Since the beginning of 2003, the programme has a component which is specifically designed for internally displaced and local Roma children and adolescents. These are primarily educational activities, which are implemented in cooperation with the local partners – Roma NGOs. The activities include: pre-school preparation of Roma children, the compensatory programme for Roma school children, literacy classes and preparation for the enrolment in regular school of those Roma children who have never attended school, the vocational training of Roma adolescents who either did not start secondary school or have dropped out of the final grades of the primary school. Apart from these activities, ICS supported the organisation of seminars for the teachers in the schools with a significant number of Roma school children, so that they could acquire the knowledge necessary for a successful work with Roma children.
The partners of ICS in this programme are:
“The Association of Roma Students” Novi Sad , which implements the project in Veliki Rit Settlement ( Novi Sad), “Roma Life” Zeleznik ( Belgrade), which implements the project in the settlements Zeleznik and Sremcica, “Narajan” Presevo, which implements the project in Presevo, “The Society for the Improvement of Roma Settlements” Belgrade , which implemented the project in Surdulica and Leskovac.