Direct Support Program , in its various parts is active since establishment of Group 484. It was created in response to the humanitarian refugee crisis in mid-nineties, when most of Group 484 activities were focused on direct assistance to refugees and displaced persons.
Activities in PRIMO program had primarily humanitarian character during first few years, i.e. they consisted of the distribution of basic resources to refugees, of psychosocial support to this group of people and of direct solving their legal problems. Thus, this type of activity was not structured and provided the answer to the most pressing needs of people at a time.
Only after 2000, activities of Group 484 in this area start to profile strategically and specific segments of work have been selected. At the same time, we are beginning to insist more and more on the developmental nature of our activities, but without neglecting the humanitarian activity.
Because of this, we begin to deal intensively with employment of vulnerable groups, to support their entrepreneurial endeavors, but also to support innovative forms of employment such as social enterprises.
More than 30.000 persons went through integrated support program (PRIMO), mostly refugees and displaced persons, but also members of other vulnerable categories.
The results of our work in this area are obvious –we have enabled our beneficiaries a variety of services, from humanitarian, medical or legal support across training for self-employment through retraining, all the way to providing resources for starting or enhancing their own business.
Only in 2012, 17 families began their activities through our support, 5 social enterprises received funding to advance their business and 37 beneficiaries were given home through social welfare program that we have implemented.
We are currently working in 20 cities across Serbia, and we have over 50 associates engaged in the implementation of our projects.
Integrated Support Program (Primo) is carried out through three main pillars – Support, Business and Change.
This part of the program has been developed since the establishment of the Group 484 and includes the provision of direct support services to our beneficiaries. In this area we provide:
a) Direct support to migrants and other vulnerable groups through psychosocial, legal, medical and other types of direct support and empowerment.
b) Support to non-profit social service providers (primarily NGOs), and other initiatives aimed at providing social services to vulnerable groups in our society through training, counseling and mentoring support.
We consider vulnerable employment to be the most important element of inclusion and in this area we are active in the following way:
a) Through the support of our beneficiaries for self-employment through a system of prequalification, internships, grants, financial support and other various trainings…
b) Through the support of nonprofit organizations and micro enterprises in starting and running theirbusiness through a system of mentoring, consultation and cooperation with the business sector, financial support…
Within the segment we influence on policies in the field of social inclusion in order to create an environment in which the inclusive social initiatives are easier to recognize, accept and support by the institutions of the system.
Through this segment we most deal with policy analysis, publicizing of the findings of our research, the organization of public events, expert discussions and conferences.
If you want to find out more about social entrepreneurship and social enterprises in Serbia visit SENS – Social Economy Network Serbia.