The first year – a conclusion

On 24. July 2017 a whole year has passed since the incorporation meeting of „Rigardu“. This date does not mark the beginning of our activities, which started already in November 2015. Still, it represents a good opportunity to draw a first conclusion of our activities as a registered association.

Before Rigardu got this official status we have been discussing intensely about the advantages and disadvantages it would bring. Some of our biggest concerns were that we would loose much of our spontaneity, flexibility and independence in our work as this step caused many new administrative barriers. We had to prove that what we do is in common public interest, we had to open a new bank account as well as maintain a book of our spendings during our activities and learn about our new rights and duties. Of course that caused more work for us but many of the developments in the last year gave us the feeling that it was the right step to take. We went from originally twelve founding members to now 45 members. 21 of them actively take part in our projects and the background work, the other 24 are sustaining members whose constant financial support is important for the continuance of our activities. Altogether 150 people took part in our projects.

Also there is a growing number of people following our blog and Facebook page, on which more than 500 people already pressed the like-button . That means that the history and the fate of people who are looking for protection and a better life in Europe is getting more coverage. More people actually „look closely“ at what is happening (Rigardu is Esperanto and means „to look closely“, so this can be understood as our motto). Among other groups and organizations in Serbia Rigardu e.V. is known as a reliable partner and we are still able to help refugees with only little administrative barriers. By opening our own bank account we have a bigger financial scope of action. That and the commitment of many of our volunteers to stay in a project for several months in a row, made it possible for us to continue our work in Serbia since February.

One of the principles we codified in our foundation script, is that we constantly and transparently report about our activities so our donators can see what is happening with money we receive. Here we deliver an overview about our earnings and expenses.

Financial Report (June 30, 2017)

Since the opening of our bank account we received 22.884,42€ and spent 18.415,29€.

Where does the money come from?

Total donations: 19.080,43 €

The total donations are being put together by donations which are designated for certain projects ( Rigardu-Van: 7.111,43 €, donations for the project Agriogata: 2.020,00 €) and uncommitted donations: 9.949,00 €.

Contribution by volunteers: 1.959,00 €

All volunteers pay for their arrival and departure journey to the projects an own contribution as well as for their accommodation. In return they get paid back their travel costs. In that way we can make sure that the financial situation of a volunteer does not influence his or her engagement.

Membership dues: 1.844,99 €

Every member can decide about the amount of the membership fee him- or herself.

Where does the money go to?

As you can see most of our spendings went directly into projects such as those:

  • Daily Center in Belgrade: Together with a Serbian NGO we set up a cultural center in Belgrade. With our financial support showers, English classes, games and time for recovery was offered there for 8 months.
  • At the beginning of 2017 one of our members went to Thessaloniki (Greece) and worked there for the project „Agriogata“. We were collecting money for that particular project and supported it financially.
  • Subotica and Šid: Since February this year we are permanently active in Serbia. We started in Belgrade and Subotica where we supported different groups and organizations by providing food, clothes, phone charging stations and other things to improve the situation of refugees. Later on we established a mobile shower system in Subotica and after the eviction of the camp there we continued that project in Sid.
  • Buying a van and its consequential costs: We started our shower project with a borrowed van from another very kind organization (SOS – Signal of Solidarity). A few months ago we decided that we want to purchase our own van. A successful crowdfunding campaign made it possible to buy a Mercedes van in a good technical state which is now the base of our daily work in Serbia. The excessive donations we received for the van will cover upcoming repair and insurance costs. Still, the purchase was associated with a lot of unforeseen complications and ended up being a project that demanded much of our time and money. But have a read yourself.
  • Northern France: In January and May 2017 we brought donated items to northern France and supported the transport financially.

Apart from conducting our projects, a lot of things happened in the background: A few of us held workshops about the topics „Refugees and Migration in Europe“ or reported about their experiences in our projects at schools, festivals etc. In the end of last year we opened an exhibition with pictures that were made by children in Idomeni and in the cultural center in Belgrade. Until recently the exhibition took place at Dortmund and last year it was in Hildesheim. Additionally many of our volunteers spend their time with collecting donations, writing blog posts, producing flyers, planning current and new projects, documenting human rights abuses and make them public and many more things.

All of that would not have happened without our supporters. So it is time to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped us in any way with what we are doing. Thanks for your financial support and the work you have done for the benefit of Rigardu and the people we are helping. Also in the future we depend on your help to maintain our work and deliver humanitarian aid for people who are fleeing from their homes. There are many ways to support us:

→ Become a sustaining member

→ Support us with a one-time donation

→ Get active or help us with your contacts to newspapers, radio or television channels, big companies with a lot of money, car dealerships who could possibly lent us a car, groups that are interested in presentations and workshops and so on

You have any questions or concerns? Please contact us!

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