The director of Smart Kolektiv, Neven Marinović, was the moderator of the conference “The role of the private sector in the integration of refugees” organized by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and IKEA Serbia on June 1 in Belgrade. 

The network of companies #ZaIzbeglice (For refugees), launched by UNCHR and Ikea Serbia with the aim of providing support for the integration of refugees and improving their living conditions in Serbia, was presented at the conference. 

Membership in the network has been signed by eight companies and business associations, among which are some of the largest employers in Serbia and key actors in the retail, tourism-hospitality and other industries, as well as sectors that provide capacity building and business consulting services. 

Members of the network have the opportunity to support refugees in one or more ways: employment and internships, education, product donations, providing professional support, public communications, as well as supporting projects that help forcibly displaced people. 

To the greatest extent, refugees who received protection in Serbia come from Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, as well as from Cuba. Both refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia have, among others, rights to education and employment. 

According to UNHCR data, the most urgent needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia are dignified employment (38 percent), medical services (25 percent), and more adequate or affordable housing (22 percent). 

Clothing is the most urgent need for three percent of them, the same as food, banking services, equipment for starting a business and a passport. More than a third of the respondents indicated that their quality of life had improved in the past year, while slightly more than half indicated that it remained the same. 

All companies interested in joining the “Za izbeglice” (“For Refugees”) initiative can find out more information on the official website of UNHCR in Serbia,