Srđan Nedović, was born in 1978 in Gjakova, has lived and worked in Berane ever since he came as a displaced person in 1999 and he is the father of two children. Since 2014 he is the owner of the small producing line DOO N.N.V., a company for the production and sale of whipped cream, hot chocolate and powdered sugar. Srđan received a packaging machine that satisfies a larger number of customers and retailers; he expanded his sales network (smaller packages are increasingly in demand on the market) and plans to expand his product range with the production and packaging of ice cream powder.
Mr. Nedović is a beneficiary of Help’s project “Strengthening the Individual Economic Capacities of Displaced Persons in Berane” funded by the US Government through the US Embassy in Podgorica – from the Julia Taft Fund.
“Worth to note, I am the only producer of these products in Montenegro. I produce whipped cream, hot chocolate, I make ice cream powder, ice cream base – all of these are products that Montenegro imports from Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo and others in the region”, says Nedović, for whom this is not the first time to be a Help beneficiary.
The goal is to contribute and to improve the inclusion of displaced persons in social and economic life, i.e. to improve the lives of displaced and internally displaced persons in the municipality of Berane, where one of the largest groups of internally displaced persons from Kosovo in Montenegro is concentrated.
“Help met my needs from the very beginning, not only for the machines, but literally Help raised me to my feet, so to speak. As a resettled person, Help supported me even earlier when it comes to the housing issue, and now again. Now you have helped me to improve my business because I had inappropriate packaging for very high quality products with which I could not get access to the supermarkets, but they rejected me precisely because of the bad packaging and I did not have the funds to buy that machine. Help was there once again and now I have a machine that meets the standards of large Franca-type supermarket chains. Now my products can be found in Franca, and I hope soon in Voli (large chain of supermarkets) and Laković HDL (the same) “.
The machine provided by Help actually it is for the packaging of products in bags with a quality protective foil, which is required by European standards and the HASAP system. Nedović says that the machine is extremely important to him, but also that he has need for another machine to fully frame the production process, but that the most important thing is to have a quality product, which is a condition for a good sale of products on the market.
“When Splendid (five stars’ hotel &spa) and Mozart (famous restaurant) in Budva, who are known as large catering companies, are satisfied, I think there is reason to be optimistic about the work I do. It is a bit of a problem for me that some of these products from the competition are imported illegally, but I hope that this problem will be solved soon. I have had a company for eight years, I have a total of three machines and I need a fourth machine because I plan to expand the production. Recently, I bought a high quality recipe for ice cream. They were tried in dozens of restaurants and cafés and they are very satisfied with the quality of the ice cream. But I did it with a borrowed machine. So, I hope that from working with equipment that I have now, I will be able to raise money, buy another machine and produce custom made ready-to-eat ice cream “, says Nedović.
He currently has two employees working with him, but he hopes to hire, as he says, “at least two more workers” soon.
“I am very grateful to Help for their support and cooperation because you have enabled me to have a great packaging for top products now. I hope for continued cooperation in the future. I believe that it also means for Help that, when I appear on the market, you can clearly see that you have invested well. My company does not owe a single cent to the state for eight years of production and we are working successfully. I raise my family from this company, I don’t have an opulent life and I can’t afford some of the more expensive machines that I want, but I’m not poor, “Srđan Nedovic told us.
The fourth machine would ensure to him to complete the production line and find its place on the domestic market with the following products: ice cream, whipped cream, hot chocolate and liquid chocolate. That is a perspective for the future for him.
As Mr. Nedović, the beneficiary of this program is also Mirjana Bojić, a 26-year-old from Peć, but she has been living in Berane for 20 years. She is a single mother of a three-year-old boy, unemployed.
She raises her son thanks to help from her brothers, as she receives only 80 euros in social assistance. Through Help’s project she completed a licensed training for beautician – with an emphasis on manicure. After training and graduation, she plans to open her own beauty parlor something she has wanted to do for a long time.
“This project that you are implementing is very useful, both for young women who want to work and for me as a young woman and a single mother with a three-year-old child. This means a lot to me because I was given the opportunity to advance in a business, as well as to help me build myself, “she says.
Mirjana Bojić previously worked in different kind of stores in Berane – a mini-market and a bakery, but this is a chance to provide herself with a craft that will help her to have a more stable income and greater safety. Thanks to this project, she received professional training in the Berane beauty salon “Kristal beauty.”
“Just at the moment when I was trying to save some money to enroll in a course for beautician, this great opportunity opened up from you through Help; it turned out really great for me. I am very satisfied with the training that was provided to me – there were classes, and then practical exercises and learning this job well is especially important. I am very satisfied with what I learned, as well as with the mentor who really tried to pass on me all her knowledge,” Bojić told us.
With the professional certificate that she obtained, the door for her employment in one of the beauty salons in Berane opens, and in the future – and that is her great wish – she will open her own beauty salon.
“In any case, with this craft, I am sure that I can always secure a job and income for myself, and that gives me security that I did not have before. Although at this moment my mentor does not need additional workers, I have already started working independently by house call, until I find a job in one of the local salons, “Mirjana Bojić told us.
Neško Dejanović was born in 1974 in Prishtina. He has been living in Berane for 21 years and is engaged in all construction work and from it supports his family for years, his wife and daughter. He is very satisfied with the quality of the machines and tools he received within the project and it means a lot to him, because only now he is able to complete the whole process of work “keys in a hands” as it is called in slang.
“Years ago, 10-12 years, I applied for assistance from Help and the German embassy, and then I got some tools, and that was very valuable and of the great importance for me, because when we left Kosovo, we came without anything. In the beginning, when I started working, I almost mixed the mortar with my hands so that I could work, I didn’t have a basic drill or anything else,” he told us during the break, while the wall was drying on a house in Berane.
“As a lot was built, worked and developed in the country, so we bought tools and supplements, but as you know one never has enough tools. This time, I learned from a friend that there is a chance to apply again for Help’s assistance for us displaced people, and I knew that Help appreciates a good artisan.”
Neško Dejanović works as an independent contractor and has two permanent workers, but when he has a larger scope of work, he hires eight or nine people for certain construction sites.
“I had a plan to open an office with one architect, but due to these crazy circumstances with the pandemic and the consequences of it, nothing of that for now, he had to close the existing one. So, the idea of opening a company will wait for a while, until we see what will happen. ”
When asked if he personally had work in the past year due to the pandemic, he said that he did and that he practically did not have a time to catch a breath, but at the same time he used this partial lockdown to finish the construction of his own house.
“I used three or four first lockdown months to finish my house, because we lived in rented property for a long time – quite a long time, 17 years. I am doing all interior works on the basis “keys in a hand” – of course we also do exterior work, facades, stone work and plus all interior work.”
Dejanović finished the high school for electrical engineering, but during his studies, in order to support himself, he worked on buildings and thus learned to do all other construction jobs.
“I trained judo as a student, and my coach had a construction company, where I occasionally worked, to make money – and that’s how it started, you improve yourself and ‘steal’ crafts – and I learned. I am really good in this job and I’ve been doing it for years, even though I’m a professor by formal vocation, but I’ve never been able to get a job in school. ”
When asked if he could pay for his pension and social security from the money that he earns as an independent contractor, he honestly answers:
“If I hadn’t lived as a tenant and paid rent and then took a loan to build a house, through my wife, who works in education, I could have. But you know how it is, when you run away from home and come to another place, literally with nothing and with lack of everything, you have to start from scratch. We have been here for 21 years, we had to live and build life here. ”
As he says, everything had to be built from scratch and provide life for his family, from the time he borrowed tools until now when he completed his collection of tools. Through this project financed from the Julia Taft Fund via the US Embassy in Podgorica, he got a compressor for the parquet, then a “giraffe” and a dehumidifier. He jokes:
“I have more wishes, if you are interested.”
Then he seriously adds:
“I still have the first tools I got from Help in 2005. I’m sorry that you found me at work, otherwise we could photograph it, but I can tell you it’s still in use and it looks like it’s unpacked just now, because I keep my tools carefully and I don’t allow anyone to behave carelessly with it, because the bread for my family depends on it and that’s it,” construction contractor Neško Dejanović told us.
The Municipality of Berane, through the engagement of the staff of the Regional Business Center, supports the project “Strengthening the individual economic capacities of displaced persons in Berane” implemented by Help, and funded by the US Government through their Embassy in Podgorica from the Julia Taft Fund.