Onno Weststrate – Serbia and Croatia
If you have been following Onno’s blog, you will know that he has a passion for business and mission and a big heart to serve the poor. The following article is a mixture of information and updates about small business initiatives and innovations in Serbia and Croatia. Read and be inspired!
- New Business: sewing curtains in Prokuplje – South Serbia
Curtains are in high demand in Roma houses in Serbia and Slavica Stankovic , the wife of pastor Marjan Stankovic , developed the idea of making curtains. The RM Business seed fund provided the necessary capital to buy two industrial sewing machines and the business will create income for two persons and also revenue for the church.
2. New Business: firewood cutting – Serbia
Many households in Roma communities use wood for heating and cooking. Wood is typically delivered in trunks of 1 meter and need to be cut and split on site. An elder in a Roma church in Pirot – South Serbia wants to start this business in order to provide income as well as being able to work more closely to his home. Many of Roma people work as seasonal labourers and are therefore often away from home for extended periods. The RM Business Seed Fund provided the necessary capital for the equipment to cut and split the wood and they expect that this will create income for two persons during the autumn season.
3. New Business: PA rental – Leskovac Church, South Serbia
Within the Roma community, celebrations such as birthdays are big events and are accompanied with loud music and so people may rent a professional PA system. An business idea was proposed to purchase a PA system and then rent it out as a small, local business. This will create employment and also generate an income stream for the church.
4. New Business: Selling Lokma – Croatia
Bernard Mikulic is a missionary working in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina. In order to generate an income he has developed the idea of selling Lokma, a Turkish delight, during the tourist season in Vodice Croatia. The RM Business Seed fund HAS provided the original stat up capital for this business and it will generate income for Bernard and his family as well as supporting the mission that he is involved in.
5. Serving the Poor: School Rucksacks for the Roma
In a small Roma community in South Serbia called Zitni Potok, most school children do not have proper school materials such as notebooks, pencils , a ruler etc. A suggestion was made to organise rucksacks with school materials for a 100 children from this village. Seven RM Dutch churches participated in this project and are planning to ship these rucksacks in the first week of November to Serbia.
6. Serving the Poor: Wood for Widows – Serbia
Every winter it is a real challenge for widows and families in need to buy wood for heating and cooking. Hearing some of the heart-breaking stories from two Roma villages in South Serbia, we immediately arranged 100 M3 of wood to be distributed to those in need and we expect this care to continue for the winters to come.