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Blog / / Security Is All We Need
BLOG
Security Is All We Need
‘I don't know what security is, but I'm afraid when there isn’t any.’
Mirjana

‘I feel safe when I have someone to rely on.’
Gordana

‘Safety is love, care and tenderness."
Marija

When was the last time you felt safe? What is it that makes you feel safe and sleep peacefully? With their answers to this question, the vendors of Liceulice (Face of the Street) magazine gave everyone the opportunity to find out, firsthand, what security is for those who have never had it.

Although I have been working with them for more than thirteen years and talking with them every day, I am well acquainted with their lives, thoughts, desires and needs, I admit that some of the answers made me cry, and in some of them I recognized myself.

Liceulice supports people who have the hardest time finding work and live on the margins of our society (users of psychiatric services, people with disabilities, people at risk of homelessness, people living in deep poverty, single mothers, etc.).

We believe that providing passive assistance is not enough, therefore we create conditions under which our users can earn a living on their own. The support we provide is aimed at the comprehensive empowerment of individuals who are in a difficult financial situation or are excluded from society, but who want to work and change their lives with their own efforts. We believe that the ability to earn money is a key step on the way to stability and better life, which is why we have chosen an active method of support. In short, we help them to be able to help themselves.

We are widely recognized for publishing the magazine Liceulice, which is sold exclusively by our vendors who earn one half of the price of each sold copy. Through this form of self-employment and with daily psychosocial support, we help them do something for themselves, generate income, gain self-confidence and certain skills, and thus start moving towards independence.

For the past 13 years, we have worked with over 1,000 people from various vulnerable groups in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Subotica, Čačak and Kraljevo. What everyone needs is continuity, stability, constant and comprehensive support, which the system does not provide. Institutions have failed them, so it takes them a long time to develop a trustful relationship with anyone.

Economic security is important, but not the most important. Empathy has not disappeared, as many claim, which is shown by the people who support Liceulice, and there are more and more such people every day. There are various ways of support - from buying magazines, to donating clothing, food, and hygiene products, to cooking for vendors or organizing various volunteering drives. You don't always have to buy a magazine when you come across a vendor; it is much more important to notice them, say hello, ask how they are doing, how was their day and at least smile at them when you pass by. We all want to count only nice and happy hours, so let's make them have as many such hours as possible. Don't assume what they need and what will be useful to them at this time; ask them, maybe their answers will surprise you, maybe not, but that's real exchange and solidarity in action - to hear and see each other, for start. The rest will be easy.

Get informed, cut out the city solidarity map from each issue of Liceulice magazine and give it to someone who needs it. In it you will find out where you can get free meals, where you can take a shower and wash things, where you can get a clean wardrobe, haircut, free coffee, medical help or legal advice in Belgrade and Novi Sad.

Be active in your neighborhood, pay attention to those who are quiet and invisible, who you may pass by every day. Organize neighbors in your building, a couple of acquaintances and friends. Be a support to those who don't have it. This doesn't take much time - just good will and some effort, but first, talking to those who are willing to talk.

As the needs of those who live and/or work on the street are increasing, and the support of institutions is decreasing, a few years ago we joined forces with organizations working in the field and formed the Network against Homelessness. I hope that we will win at least some fights against windmills and that we will put this topic on many agendas, which hopefully will not be remembered only before the holidays. Because those who are invisible and from whom many turn their heads away have the same desires and needs as everyone else. And those needs are there throughout the year, not just during the holidays.

Everyone wants to feel valuable, to do something useful, to be needed and important to someone, to be part of a team, to belong somewhere - somewhere where they feel good and safe; let's give that chance to those whom many have forgotten.

Because security is what we all need, it’s what counts.
AUTHOR
NikoletaKosovac
Coordinator to the Face of the Street Program (LiceUlice)