Serbien: Gordana Savin

Why this division between people? Just because some are called Albanians and others Serbs. As long as there is strength in me, I will fight wholeheartedly against prejudices and discrimination.

— Gordana Savin

Gordana Savin (born 1955) provides humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons through her work with the Red Cross of Sombor and Vojvodina. When war broke out in Kosovo, she led a Red Cross team and, with Nato Kosovo Forces, provided aid to isolated villages. Under extremely difficult conditions, she also organized a reception center for displaced persons. In October 1995, the Municipal Assembly of Sombor awarded Gordana for her extraordinary work.

Gordana Savin's first encounter with the Red Cross Organization was when she was a child. In the summer of 1965, the waters of the river Danube reached a critical level and a decision was made to break the dam and let the water flood hundreds of acres of the plain, in order to save the cities along the course of the Danube from flooding. Her grandparents’ farmhouse, where she had been staying, was destroyed, the animals died. Sadness and loss overwhelmed the family. Then, one morning in September, the postman brought a letter from Sombor addressed to her mother. The next day, her mother went to Sombor. When she came back, she started taking out things from the bags: new shoes for each child, clothes and winter jackets, four school bags, notebooks and all that children needed for school. They all were dumbfounded and she simply said: “This is why the Sombor Red Cross invited me. You should remember this and, God forbid, if needed, return the favor.” Gordana still remembers. In 1987, Gordana got a full-time job with the Red Cross, working with youth and health protection. In 1991, she was appointed Secretary of the Red Cross in Sombor, taking over the position on 1 July. In the beginning of August, the war started fully and terribly. There was no time for hesitation, she knew that the “God-forbidden time” her mother had been talking about had come. She led Red Cross teams to Kosovo and, with the Nato Kosovo Force, distributed humanitarian aid to isolated villages, and took out messages from the inhabitants to their relatives. She organized a displaced persons center and, in a matter of days, turned it from a chaotic and unhygienic situation to a clean and well-functioning center. In October 1995, the Municipal Assembly of Sombor handed to Gordana Savin, leader of the Red Cross in Sombor, the October Award of the City of Sombor, for her extraordinary work.

Red Cross Sombor/Vojvodina