IAHV Uk successfully supports Stress reduction, and empowerment programmes for the most vulnerable in Montenegro, one of the least developed countries in Europe. IAHV UK has answered thier urgent need by funding and supporting an on-running programme within institutions and the Municipalities, focusing on marginalised children, young offenders, the disabled, drug addicts, abused women, cancer sufferers, amongst others and those working with them..
Starting in 2015 IAHV UK has worked with the Art of Living team on the ground in Montenegro (now operating as IAHV MNE) headed by Aleksandra Grujovic to provide a structured programme for socially marginalised and disadvantaged groups within Montenegro and for those working with them in the overstretched and underdeveloped social care systems and institutions there. It was then expanded in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to include more beneficiaries across a wider range.
The programme has reached 400 people in 10 cities mostly in the poorer areas of north Montenegro, and made a much appreciated impact.
A typical quote from one of the professionals on a municipality training was
“This Programme completely suits the need of today’s alienated human and the closeness we feel during exercises is just what is needed.”
The Approach was to start by targeting a selected number of institutions in the first year, including the Children’s home in Bijela (the only one in Montengro), and the women’s refuge in Niksic, This was then expanded in the second year and thereafter to cover more institutions in other cities including:
- homes for the Elderly in Bijelo Polje and Risan,
- Centres for social affairs,
- the institution for implementation of penalty sanctions, Spuz and Bijelo Polje,
- the centre for addictions
- centre for youth in crime in Podgorica,
- Roma settlements and SOS in Berane,
- centres for disabled kids in Rozaje, Berane, Mojkovac, Bijelo Polje,
- primary and high schools,
- and more.
Return visits are made to the institutions visited previously to follow up and consolidate the previous experience. Also training is given to some on the ground within the organisations so that they can conduct follow ups themselves to enhance and sustain the benefits. Care is taken to foster good relations on all levels within the organisations and institutions.
A detailed summary of the programme in 2016 was professionally evaluated with positive outcomes. This is set out in the attached document:
“FINAL EVALUATION :Enhancing the physical and mental state of employees and beneficiaries of the social protection, education and health sector and criminal justice system in Montenegro” by Stefan Popovic. AND Masa Elezovic
It was found that the project was in general well structured, properly targeted and hence successfully implemented. Main project goals were met as well as specific objectives. The project was also found to be cost effective. It was concluded that the project is valuable for the communities it supports and that its continuation is recommended.
SOS The Womens’ Refuge in Niksic
In September 2015 and 2016, Susan Hindle a trustee of IAHV visited various of the sites where the projects had taken place and spoke with those involved.
In the city of Niksic she visited SOS ,an organisation supporting abused women, who run a shelter there and also the first and only women’s help line in the country. She met with Natasha Medjovic, the coordinator of SOS, and some of the ladies in the refuge
Natasha explained “This is the best thing that we did for the organization and we would like to do it again. It was a unique opportunity to learn how to relax as individuals and as a group. In our 17 years of operation this is only the second time we have done anything for our own stress. All the funds we receive go to benefit the clients and this is the first time we have received anything for ourselves. I have continued to practice the techniques I learned” She explained that the group also exercises together regularly, and that the ladies they are supporting were also greatly helped to deal with the stress of their difficult situations.”
Sandra, one of the residents of the nearby hostel expressed:
‘For me this came at just the right moment. I was very unhappy and low when my children went. This experience changed the nature of my thoughts literally, It was a very positive influence. I feel much stronger and after a very long time I am now breathing in and out normally. I couldn’t breath normally before. We practice the breathing techniques everyday together, sometimes several of us and sometimes fewer. Also the teacher comes once a week from the city . I was so tense before and now I am much more relaxed. My thoughts are less and less trouble. I will definitely continue with this. I feel much better and more peaceful. I feel I did something good for myself. I am feeling so much better that I am now looking for a job”
Immediate Need for Support and Funding
This project has been found to be very cost effective in the independent professional evaluation but it cannot continue without ongoing regular funding. Please support
How can you contribute?
- By donating for the support of the programme, or introducing us to funders..
- By running fundraising events locally to support the programme.
- In any other practical way that you may have the opportunity and connections for.
For more information please contact:
Aleksandra Grujovic : firstname.lastname@example.org
or Sue Hindle : Sue.email@example.com