Sunday, March 25, 2012

28. Jun completes global awareness campaign, sends $1.5 million worth of aid to Kosovo Serbs






The Serbian diaspora organization 28. Jun organized a global awareness campaign and donation drive which resulted in the shipment of medical supplies worth over $1.5 mil to the Gracanica Medical Center in Kosovo. The extensive effort that spanned over 6 months was launched in mid-October when musician and 28. Jun President Filip Filipi released a song entitled “Kosovka” to raise funds and awareness aimed at helping Serbs in Kosovo. A poster campaign uniting Serbian communities in over 80 cities across 30 different countries around the world propelled the drive, which culminated with the shipment of the 40 ft, 11,000 lbs container filled with medical supplies to Kosovo.

Outraged by the K-FOR shooting of civilians last September, Filipi, whose grandmother is from Kosovo, released “Kosovka” on iTunes to gather funds and draw attention to the deplorable living conditions of Serbs in Kosovo. In conjunction with the song, an updated version of the famous “Kosovka Devojka” painting was created by 28. Jun Vice President Marko Sejat and auctioned off to raise additional capital. Additionally, 1000 posters of the updated iconic image were printed and sent to Serbian communities throughout the diaspora with the campaign motto "Mi smo sa vama" ("We are with you") and instructions on how to help. Substantial coverage by the Serbian media drew other groups and individuals to the cause and it was agreed that the drive should focus on helping Serbs living in the isolated enclaves of central and southern Kosovo. After much research, efforts zeroed in on sending aid to the Medical Center in Grancanica which is responsible for providing assistance to the 40,000 Serbs living below the Ibar river.

To accomplish this herculean task, 28. Jun collaborated with a number of groups which included Eagles Nest Foundation, Save Serbian Children, Direct Effect USA, Serbian-Orthodox Youth Association (SOYA), Serbian Student Organization (S.S.O.) University of Illinois in Chicago, Kosovski Zavet, St. Sava Church in Houston, St. Petka Church in Melbourne and Ujedinjene Srpske Dijaspore. The drive in the highly Serbian-populated region of southern Ontario was spear-headed by 28. Jun Director of Strategic Planning, Nikola Peric. Further U.S. fundraising efforts were handled by 28. Jun members Milo Dubak in the Midwest and Andrija Stanojcic in the South, with Sasa Dodos covering the west coast and Sabrina Radakovic overseeing the international drive. Other notable contributors include Jeanne Kimn, Milos Supica, Dr. Katarina Varinac-Bozic, Dr. Slavko Tokanovic, Milic Stankovic, the Belgrade based political rap group Beogradski Sindikat and various Serbian celebrities who shared the cause with their fan bases via social media.

The container left the port of Seattle, WA on March 12th, where 28. Jun members joined forces with Eagles Nest Foundation volunteers to load the supplies. It is currently en route to Thessaloniki, Greece where it will be offloaded and then transported by truck through Macedonia and into Gracanica. The container is scheduled to reach Gracanica's Medical Center just before Serbian Easter on April 15th. The political situation in Kosovo has rendered its borders some of the most difficult in the world and custom clearance took months of strenuous negotiations. Filipi revealed that this final step presented a considerable obstacle : "After contacting the UN, EULEX, EU, Red Cross, World Health Organization and many others to no avail we ended up having to rely on personal contacts to manage the container's safe passage into Kosovo. At times, this difficult campaign took its toll on us but we prevailed since the cause was absolutely worth it. It's the most important project I have ever been involved in." Vice president Marko Sejat added: "My comrades and I are fighting a different kind of battle; one that promotes justice, preservation of our nation, its rehabilitation and advancement, one that I am extremely proud to be a part of. I hope that Serbs worldwide will follow our example once they see how much we can achieve when we operate as a unified force."

28.Jun is a student-driven Serbian organization engaged in political, social and philanthropic functions pertaining to Serbian interests. Previous campaigns have included the boycott of the Chelsea Handler program as part of an anti-defamation initiative. 28. Jun organized a media offensive to condemn Chelsea Handler's xenophobic comments about Serbia. Similarly, in January of 2012, 28. Jun objected to the demonization of Serbs propagated by Angelina Jolie's film "In the Land of Blood and Honey". Alongside a petition, the organization addressed an open letter to Jolie expressing Serbian concerns and exposing the dangers of her actions from a global standpoint. Consequently, 28. Jun played a significant role in the cancellation of her film release in Serbia. Encouraged by the success of the current campaign, 28. Jun is working on the shipment of two additional containers to Serbia and Republika Srpska. The organization strongly relies on the contribution of Serbian communities from around the world and hopes that individuals and businesses alike will continue to engage with them in making a difference. For more information on how to help visit: http://28jun.org/donations

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Beogradski Sindikat support 'Boj za Kosovo'

The most acclaimed Serbian rap group of all time, Beogradski Sindikat, have thrown their support behind the 28.Jun organized 'Boj za Kosovo' charity. They will be in concert on April 28th at Belgrade Arena. For more information visit their official site