Unique project “Our Village” was launched at the end of 2018 with the aim of supporting and promoting the development of agriculture and restoration of villages in Serbia. The project was first launched in the villages of Mala Jasikova and Dubočane near Zaječar, due to a large number of young people who wish to stay in these villages and work in agriculture.
Key elements of the development of agricultural production are sharing of knowledge on modern production methods, support in financing and marketing of products. Forty households decided to take part in the project. Delta Holding created individual development plans and measures for each household, and Delta’s team pays weekly visits to locals’ properties, giving them advice on fruit farming and protection, selection of animal breeds and their proper growing, and all other processes which lead to successful production. To finance their production, locals received loans from Erste Bank, on which Delta Agrar pays interest. The funds from the loans were invested in the procurement of animals, machinery, irrigation systems, orchard fencing, building materials for stables and dairy houses. In 2020, the Company organized lectures and online courses for the locals.
As marketing of products presents one of the greatest challenges for agricultural producers, Delta guarantees the purchase of products and helps the locals to launch their products through large retail chains, which makes their production sustainable. During the pandemic, DH launched “Our Village Market” where employees bought homemade products from the locals, which helped them to overcome the crisis without losing their income.
Delta has also allocated funds to support young parents. Six households received a childbirth allowance of 100,000 RSD and Erste Bank opened bankbooks for newborn children with initial 250 EUR.
Another important segment for the survival of villages is the improvement of education, health institutions, cultural and social life. With the support of health institutions from Zaječar, the work of outpatient clinics was extended from 1 to 2 days a week.
Through this project, Delta also promotes the importance of education from early age and supports the youngest residents of the local villages. After renovating the school in Mala Jasikova in 2019, in 2020 Delta Holding gave a completely new appearance to the school in Dubočane. For the first time in 88 years, the school’s roof was repaired, as well as the internal and external walls, carpentry, new floors were placed, electric installations and school furniture replaced. In December 2020, children from both villages received New Year gifts prepared by DH employees within the initiative Santa Claus Helpers.
The 2021 plans include:
- renovation of the centre for children and youth in Mala Jasikova,
- establishment of children’s playground in the schoolyard in Mala Jasikova, and
- selection of another two villages where the realization of the project will continue.
The long-term goal is to establish living conditions in these villages parallel to the ones in the modern European villages and create conditions for the emigrated population to return.
Many partners joined the project: Erste Bank, City of Zaječar, Health centre Zaječar, Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Ceramics Kanjiža, Beo vrt, retail chain Tekijanka, Telekom Srbija, CANSEE. The Swedish ambassador and representatives of the Austrian Embassy visited the two villages and follow the realization of the project on a regular basis.