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    Copyright: The following text is for personal information only. Any professional use or publication in written or electronic form is subject to an agreement with AIM, 17 rue Rebeval, F-75019 Paris, France

    MON, 11 APR 1994 19:20:38 GMT

    Humanitarian action

    ITALIAN TRADE UNIONS TO NEEDY MONTENEGRIN FAMILIES

    The "Adottalapace" action (remote adoption) covers 178 families from all the communes of Montenegro. The same action started earlier in Bosnia and Croatia. Every family gets DM 30 a month.

    AIM, Podgorica, April 6, 1994

    Text:

    A new word has become commonplace in Montenegro. "Adottalapace" or, in English, remote adoption, is the name of a humanitarian project being implemented in Montenegro for seven months now. One of the Italian trade unions - the General Labour Confederation - from the Province of Emilia- Romagna, together with several other humanitarian organizations ("Arcisolidarieta" and "Arciragazzi") launched a specific action of aid to families threatened by the war which is being waged in the territories of the former Yugoslavia. They started in Croatia, continued in Bosnia and Herzegovina and seven months ago in Montenegro too.

    - The idea is simple, explains Giancarlo Gverconi, head of the international department of the provincial trade union headquarters in Bologne. We send small monthly amounts (of DM 30 ) to families - victims of war and thus show our solidarity at work. This amount, rather small for our standards of living, means very much to the families receiving it. The continuous sending of this aid for a year, at minimum will help these families feel dignity again and restore at least some of the independence they lost on account of the war.

    This assistance is primarily intended for refugee families, but in Montenegro its scope has been extended to cover all worker families, which have due to the war and the drastic decline of economic activities, found themselves in dire social straits. The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Montenegro, in agreement with the Italian donors registers the neediest families and distributes aid to them. The project met with great interest, it started with only 18 families, and already it encompasses 178 families, from all the communes of Montenegro. David Imola, project administrator in Rimini, who just visited some of the families receiving assistance firmly promises that in the next few months the whole project will involve at least 2 thousand families in Montenegro. "When after the first year, the period envisaged for assistance to refugee families in Croatia expired, and we asked our donors whether they were ready to continue for another year, they accepted to a man. I would like, says Imola, your misfortune to end as soon as possible, but while it lasts you can count on our solidarity."

    The Republican Trade Union Council claims that all the participating families fully deserve this assistance. They include members of all ethnic communities which are jointly going through the misfortune of war in the former Yugoslavia. The filled in forms with data about the families, which are submitted to the Italian donors, show how much poverty is actually hidden from the public eye. The most numerous is the family Radojevic from the vicinity of Mojkovac, 14 children and the father, a mining technician, lost his job. Vera Masic fled with two children from Srebrenica to stay with her relatives in Podgorica. Several months ago, her parents joined her. Her husband Esad stayed forever at the threshold of their home.

    - I have no income whatsoever, says Mrs. Masic, how else can I explain what this assistance means to me. I live on Red Cross packages and the assistance of my relatives. I spend this money on the children to give them at least little joy. Earlier when foreign currency was worth more, more could be done with it. Everything is too expensive now, but this assistance is nevertheless invaluable.

    On account of the embargo on payment transactions between Montenegro and Italy, funds for the "Adottalapace" humanitarian action cannot arrive by regular channels, and have to be conveyed by humanitarian convoys or personally delivered by trade union delegations from Italy. The distribution of thus received money is further carried out by the trade union through its communal branches. The forms contain the particulars and photographs of individual families and every beneficiary gets the address of the donor.

    - Through exchanging letters, says Danilo Popovic president of the Montenegrin Trade Union, they have the opportunity to get closer acquainted and become friends. That is why we urge our families to write letters and thank their donors.

    The project symbolically called "Remote Adoption" will last at least a year, but the solidarity and friendship, they say in the Montenegrin Trade Union, will last forever.

    D. DJURIC