Communiqué of the NGO "Majka devet Jugovića" (Mother of the Nine Jugoviches)

Following information that is appearing in the daily press about the misuse of financial resources collected for the soup kitchens in Kosovo and Metohija, we feel morally responsible for informing the public about the facts relating to this unfortunate case.

The NGO "Majka devet Jugovića" has been operating since the year 2000 and thanks to the campaign "an SMS for a meal," we succeeded in establishing four soup kitchens, which have been operating all these years and providing meals for the socially most vulnerable food Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. With the blessing of the Bishop of Raska and Prizren, money collected for the soup kitchen was deposited to the diocesan bank account and not on a separate bank account for the NGO. Funds for our needs were withdrawn from the treasury of the Diocese, and the NGO regularly submitted reports to the Diocese and to donors on funds spent.

In the recent period the NGO "Majka devet Jugovića" has not been given complete information regarding the state of the bank account and the amount of funds for the use of the soup kitchens. This raised suspicions, and not only in our NGO, that funds were being siphoned off for other purposes, which was quickly proven by an investigation of a commission of the Holy Synod of Bishops.

Our four soup kitchens continue their work with the blessing of the Administrator of the Diocese, Bishop Atanasije, and provide food for 1200 people. We are currently working on opening a fifth kitchen in the Gnjilane region. We take this opportunity to note that the cost of one meal per person is not 750 dinars, as some media erroneously published, but 75 dinars.*

We call on our donors and all people of goodwill not to stop helping the soup kitchens and the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija because of these unfortunate events because the Holy Synod of Bishops has undertaken timely measures to protect the fund collected for the soup kitchens and thus preserved the moral dignity of our NGO and our whole Diocese.

Our NGO is hopeful that in the future with the support of our donors and faithful we will succeed in justifying their full confidence.

Chair of NGO "Majka devet Jugovića" [presbytera] Svetlana Stevic