Roma and Egyptian families throughout the country receive hygiene kits

Joint UNICEF and Red Cross initiative to assist the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic

UNICEF Montenegro
UNICEF i Crveni krst dijele pomoć romskim i egipćanskim porodicama
UNICEF Crna Gora / Duško Miljanić / 2020
05 May 2020

NIKSIC – 5 May 2020 – As part of a joint UNICEF and Red Cross initiative, hygiene kits and diapers are being distributed to Roma and Egyptian families in Niksic and other cities in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Kids desperately need diapers. I have a hard time coping with this situation and this help from UNICEF means a lot to me,” says mother of two babies, Leona Sinistaj from Niksic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Roma and Egyptian parents really need these hygiene kits.

UNICEF and the Red Cross are delivering a hygiene package to the family in Niksic, in May 2020
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2020
UNICEF and the Red Cross are delivering a hygiene package to a family in Niksic, in May 2020

“Because of the virus, hygiene is now the most important thing, because children should be washing their hands as often as possible,” explains Susana Ejvaz, a mother from Niksic.

Although the coronavirus crisis has hit the whole of society, those who are on the social margins before the crisis are still in the most difficult position.

“All children have equal rights, but not the opportunities to exercise them. During a crisis, it can easily happen that the most vulnerable children are neglected. UNICEF’s priority is precisely to support the most vulnerable children and families,” points out Michaela Bauer, Acting Head of the UNICEF Office in Montenegro.

UNICEF and the Red Cross are delivering a hygiene package to the family in Niksic, in May 2020.
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2020
UNICEF and the Red Cross are delivering a hygiene package to a family in Niksic, in May 2020

Goran Damjanovic from the Red Cross municipal organization in Niksic, which has distributed hygiene kits, confirms that the Roma and Egyptian population is one of the most vulnerable groups, even during normal times, but especially in these extraordinary circumstances, and that is why UNICEF's assistance is of paramount importance.

“The cooperation between the Red Cross municipal organization and UNICEF is long-standing and has always been fruitful, and in these difficult times one can best see how effective this cooperation is,” says Damjanovic. He adds that the Red Cross has previously assisted Roma and Egyptian families in various ways – from the provision of school supplies, mobile phones, food, and hygiene products, to caring for their health.

 A Red Cross volunteer assembles packages prepared by UNICEF to help Roma and Egyptian families in Podgorica in April 2020.
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2020
A Red Cross volunteer organizes packages prepared by UNICEF to help Roma and Egyptian families, in Podgorica in April 2020

In addition to hygiene products and diapers, each kit also contains leaflets on the prevention of the spread of coronavirus in Montenegrin, Albanian and the Roma language, as well as a brochure on how children can protect their rights in the event of their violation, which was developed by children, the Ombudsman's Golden Advisers, for their peers, with the support of UNICEF.

Distribution of the first shipment of 2,000 hygiene kits and diapers for Roma and Egyptian families across the country is underway. In this way, UNICEF and the Red Cross are supporting Montenegro in its efforts to make the protection of each and every child a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.