WHO WE ARE
We began as a collaboration of concerned citizens, non-governmental organizations, charities, and local businesses operating out of Miksalište refugee centre, in the Savamala neighbourhood in Belgrade. Here we collected and delivered clothing, food and hygiene items to the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers transiting Serbia.
Prioritising our adaptability, we moved out of Miksalište to focus on the behind-the-scenes work of aid delivery in mobile teams around the country, as well as education, awareness raising and community engagement.
Since then we have witnessed the official closure of the Balkan route, despite which asylum seekers still arrive in Serbia daily, most of whom stop off in Belgrade city-centre. Here, we meet some of their most basic needs and offer them a moment of respite. When many become stuck, sleeping rough in improvised shelters and abandoned buildings, we were on the frontline delivering warm meals, clothes and hygiene items. With most refugees now settled in camps, our activities have shifted to long-term assistance.
Through our daily field work we compile monitoring reports on the situation for refugees throughout the country, including thematic reports on specific challenges. With our partners, we run an educational centre where we provide classes in languages, math and science and fun and vocational workshops in a safe and inviting environment. Through our community outreach projects we aim to build bridges between locals and the refugee community, such as our joint football or community gardening project. We always look to raise refugee issues with the public through external trainings, fundraising events and workshops.
We believe that people are often misinformed or misled about the refugee crisis, which is why we started the Odyssey Project. You can read more about the ways in which we are trying to bring about public engagement and humanise the refugee experience here.
Since our inception we have developed into an eclectic team who are passionate about providing humanitarian aid with respect to individuals of all backgrounds, whilst fostering a broader culture of volunteering in the places we work.
We want these communities we live in and the communities we serve to be involved at every step. If you’d like to join us too, get in touch.
Miodrag Ćakić is a migration analyst, investigative journalist, and an open-data expert. Miodrag is also an accomplished photographer whose work has appeared in several publications and magazines all over the world.
Felix Thomson has previously worked for Barnardo’s Children’s Charity, UNESCO, and Publicis Consultants. He leads fundraising efforts and the Odyssey Project. Outside of work, he enjoys cycling, playing guitar and recently converted to veganism.
Diana Vasov leads our Education department. A former refugee herself, Diana obtained her Master of Human Rights and Bachelors in Psychology and worked with resettled refugees in Perth, Australia, before joining RAS. In her spare time Diana’s surfs and writes.
Sam Horn, originally from Belgium and trained as an engineer, leads our Community Outreach department, having previously headed up our Distribution teams. Outside of the office, he is a keen chef.
Our mission is to assist refugees, displaced persons and those affected by disasters on the basis of humanitarian principles and human rights. We aim to empower local communities, NGO’s and governments to respond in emergency situations through promoting a culture of good governance and volunteering. RAS is against any kind of discrimination and is committed to tolerance, multiculturalism and respect for diversity, human and minority rights and gender equality.