Mara Foundation – Dedicated to the Balkans

Article published on March 22, 2010
community published
Article published on March 22, 2010
Interviewer: Lea Linin

When was the organization established? How did the idea to form this type of organization come about? Was there a particular event that was the instigator?

Mara Foundation was established in 1994, after a lecture of Professor Jankovic, who was an opposition leader as well. He held this lecture in Leiden, the first student city of the Netherlands. During this lecture, he called for students to go and help people in the Balkans. After this lecture, 7 students from Leiden started Mara Foundation. The concept was buying medicines in the Netherlands and bringing them to places harmed by the war. The idea was to distribute the medicines, not making any difference in ethnicity, age or gender. After Leiden, many other student cities in the Netherlands followed in establishing a Mara Foundation. Nowadays, there are 7 cities in the Netherlands in which Mara Foundation is active.

Why did Mara Foundation choose to focus its activities on the Balkans?

We chose the Balkans because of the war during that time, and because Professor Jankovic remarked that the Balkans was only 2 days driving away, so it would be relatively easy for students from Western Europe to go to the Balkans and help.

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