Life for the average Serbian has not drastically improved since the fall of Communism, the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the Balkans War of the 1990s. High inflation, high unemployment (16.6%, 2009) and poor economic management throughout the 1990s have taken their toll on an already battered nation. In 2009, Serbia’s economy contracted by 3%, exacerbating the situation for the half of the population who live under the poverty line.
The welfare needs are therefore as important as ever. The Serbians are a proud people who have no desire to rely on charity or on handouts. Welfare programmes allow individuals to retain their dignity and work hard to get themselves out of the poverty cycle and onto the cycle of success and self-sufficiency. The Serbian Jewish population of approximately 3,000 is therefore in great need of WJR’s support.
Population = 7,344,847
Jewish population = 1,500
Life expectancy at birth = 74 years
Population below poverty line = 7.9%
Unemployment rate = 17.2%
GDP per capita = $11,000
Inflation rate = 4.9%