The first candidate for the self-employment support within the Project “Strengthening of Young Roma Families II” is Dejan Savic with his wife Merihana. They have two children A. (12) and B (15) and live in a suburb of Belgrade in their own house. This modest family receive child allowance and they have their own business, but in the grey zone, since they fear to register their own firm out of different reasons.
Dejan and Merihana have completed primary school. These hardworking and motivated people have been engaged in trade for a long time – for more than 10 years. They sell clothes on local markets, on fairs, and thus participate in the grey economy in Serbia. They are very experienced in this job, knowledgeable in trading clothes in Serbia – they know the market, the needs of customers and the trends; they participate in almost all fairs across Serbia.
Their idea to register their own business is not new. They have been thinking about it for a few years. What has prevented them from starting is the fear of failure. They also lacked sufficient information and training on conducting and maintaining their business.
When they heard for this Project, they immediately contacted the Project Team as they recognised the support they needed for their business idea.
“I was thrilled when I heard about this Project. This is what we need. We have the idea and we know the way to realise it, but we need mentorship support and small grant for the beginning“, says Dejan.
Dejan and Merihana have an idea to open a tailor’s shop and to sew clothes (mostly cotton), print on them to sell them on the market.
After a few interviews and assessment, they made specification of the equipment they needed for their business. They also developed and made their business plan.
As an in-kind grant, Dejan and Merihana received an industry sewing machine and a thermo press machine.
As they did not know how to work on the sewing machine, the project team agreed to include Merihana into the tailor’s course within the Project. After finishing the course they would register the shop and launch their business in March or April 2018.
“This is a great chance for me and my family. I have always been thinking about what Dejan’s and my profession could be and this is a great opportunity for us – to have a sustainable, legal job. Also, I am very happy that I will learn to sew and create clothes, this is a huge step for me!”says Merihana.
For the third consecutive year, ADRA Serbia has been implementing the Project “Strengthening of Young Roma Families to Reduce Asylum Seeking”, supported by the German Foreign Office (GFO) in cooperation with ADRA Germany.
The main implementing partners are “Branko Pešić” School for Primary and Adult Education, SOS Children’s Villages Serbia and Know How Centre. The project objective is to contribute to poverty reduction of Roma through economic empowerment, vocational training and business entrepreneurship.