Catholic Relief Services began working in Serbia in 1996 in response to the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia. As a new country formed after that breakup, Serbia leaves behind years of war and sanctions, but faces widespread changes. Vulnerable groups such as refugees, victims of gender-based violence, ethnic minorities, children and people with disabilities are often neglected in the transition process.
Since 1996, CRS has partnered with more than 20 local organizations to provide free economic and legal assistance to families displaced by the war. CRS assists adults with disabilities in obtaining meaningful employment. It helps parents of children with autism, blindess, hearing loss or other disabilities to advocate for—and access—inclusive education.
CRS' office in Serbia is run by Country Representative Jacob Hershman. The staff of six supports programs in Serbia and a legal-assistance program for displaced people in Montenegro as well.