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CRS in Serbia

Serbia is one of the countries to emerge from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. It has the highest number of displaced people in Europe. The unemployment rate hovers around 20%.

CRS works to meet the needs of vulnerable refugees, displaced people, victims of gender-based violence, ethnic minorities, children and people with disabilities who were neglected after the violent breakup of Yugoslavia.


People served: 21,285

Population: 7,176,794 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 29,913 sq. mi; slightly smaller than South Carolina

CRS' History in Serbia

Catholic Relief Services opened our office in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1996 in response to the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Responding to this emergency, we offered clothes, food, heating and hygiene supplies to refugees and other marginalized groups.

After Slobodan Milosevic lost power and the country began to rejoin the European economy, CRS Serbia shifted focus from humanitarian assistance to programs that encourage citizen participation. These programs include education, poverty reduction and building a culture of peace.

Catholic Relief Services' work in Serbia revolves around three pillars. The first is legal aid and livelihood assistance to thousands of refugees and displaced people, many of whom live in legal and financial uncertainty.

CRS also works in ethnically divided southern Serbia to promote tolerance, peace and human rights among Serbs, Albanians and Roma. CRS helps local organizations improve multi-ethnic dialogue and opportunities for women and youth.

Finally, CRS works with local faith-based partners (Caritas Serbia and Philanthropy) to respond to catastrophic flooding and other disasters.