Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.
The population of Serbia at the beginning of 2010. counts for 7.320.807 people. Serbs make up 82.86% of the population, many other nationalities live in the country, the biggest groups of which form Hungarians 3.91%, Bosniaks 1.82%, Roma 1.44%, Yugoslavs 1.08%, Croats 0.94%, Montenegrin 0.92%, Albanians 0.82%, Slovaks 0.79%.
Beside the Christian Orthodox population, there are also other religious communities in Serbia: Islamic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and others.
Serbia has a relatively low rate of HIV prevalence which is largely concentrated in the vulnerable and marginalized populations of injecting drug users (IDUs), sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), Roma people, children and youth in institutionalized care, prison inmates and the military.
The volatile post-conflict environment of Serbia has also contributed to high levels of violence, against women, peer violence, violence against LGBT population, and other minorities, which serve to decrease respect for human’s rights and contribute to the pressure on young men to exhibit aggressive characteristics. These factors combined with strong patriarchal customs and low wages for women place all girls and young women in Serbia in a vulnerable position. Dance4life recognizes these problems and through tolerance and anti-discrimination tries to educate and empower them.
Taboos, and biases are still connected with condom use, and HIV/AIDS myths are main topic among youth, and sexual and reproductive health.
Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
In 2003, our two founders, Dennis Karpes and Ilco van der Linde, were struck by the force of the HIV pandemic and shared a passion to use their commercial expertise to turn the problem around. They created a new way of approaching youth in schools and an iconic brand to go with it. By involving young people and engaging millions of people around the world, their vision became reality.
In 2004, dance4life began in three countries: the Netherlands, Indonesia and South Africa. Now, dance4life has grown into an international organisation, active in nearly 30 countries. In 2007, Eveline Aendekerk became the director of dance4life international, taking over the baton from Ilco van der Linde.
In 2006 Vojislav Arsic [Y-PEER Serbia National Coordinator] and Milos Stojiljkovic [Y-PEER Serbia National Coordinator Alternate], met with dance4life movement in NYC on Y-PEER Global Advisory Bord meeting, and immediately started to advocate for this project to start in Serbia. At the time, in Serbia, there were a lot of HIV/AIDS projects, but they were all leaking something that will be attractive to young people, something that will motivate them to go through education, and become active member of the movement. After 2 full Years, in 2008 Serbia officially become part of dance4life movement, and Association against AIDS - JAZAS become National Concept Owner and Milos Stojiljkovic become Managing director of the movement. From then dance4life spread in 6 regions across Serbia with intention to grow. More then 13.000 young people were educated through dance4life project.