After a long history of turmoil in The Balkan Peninsula, including the Kosovo War that began in the mid 90s, Kosovo has been plagued by a massive shortage of medical support and supplies. In 2008, the Republic of Kosovo declared independence, but the acknowledgment and legality of said independence remains heavily disputed by many nations, including Serbia.
However, this post isn’t about politics or a debate about Kosovo’s sovereignty, but rather to highlight the humanitarian efforts of Serbian-Canadian rapper Filip Filipi(formerly covered on HipHopCanada as ‘Sin’).
A year ago today, October 17, 2011, Filipi founded the organization 28.Jun and launched their first major humanitarian project, Boj za Kosovo (Struggle for Kosovo), geared at sending medical supplies to Kosovo.
To raise awareness for the campaign, Filipi teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Deezle (Lil Wayne, “Lollipop”) to release the single “Kosovka” – with all proceeds donated to the project. The 9-month long initiative witnessed Serbian communities in over 80 cities, across 30 different countries, unite in a joint effort to make a difference. And after an aggressive campaign to get the word out, including support from major media in Europe, Filipi was able to raise an impressive $1.5 million in supplies which were then sent to Gracanica, Kosovo.
The 40 ft., 11,000 lbs. container, holding medical supplies of over 3,000 individual items, was processed by the director of Health and Social Protection of Gracanica, Bojan Todorovic. Todorovic elaborated on the significance of the donation:
“The goods are inside Kosovo and are being processed in customs in accordance with standard procedures. The large quantity of items is making the process take longer than usual but we are doing a thorough job and are extremely thankful for the aid, which will be hugely valued by the people of Gracanica. Bojan Stojanovic, the mayor of Gracanica, made it his priority to oversee the safe delivery of the aid to the people in need and extended an invitation to 28.Jun president, Filip Filipi, to visit Gracnica, so as to personally express his gratitude to the organization.”
The health facilities in Gracanica are responsible for providing medical assistance to the 40,000 Serbs living in isolated enclaves south of the Ibar River.
“This project was the most important achievement of my life. It proves the power of music can unite people to do good in the world,” states Filipi as he reflects on 28.Jun’s inception. It wasn’t long before the organization was inspired to try and out do their own accomplishments.
Encouraged by the success of the first campaign, 28.Jun launched a new project this past June called Srpske zemlje, Srpski rod, with the goal of raising 5 million dollars of medical supplies:
“The new campaign is even more ambitious and this is why we’re organizing events in over 120 cities, all over the world to spread awareness and raise funds. It will take a year to complete, but we are encouraged by our previous successes and are confident we will deliver 3 new medical containers to the people in need.”
When the campaign is complete, 3 containers valued at $1.5 million will be sent to Serbia, Republika Srpska and Montenegro, respectively. The main candidates to receive the aid are children’s hospitals and refugee shelters. Additional aid in the value of $500,000 will be sent to Serbs in Northern Kosovo and Krajina.
While speaking with Filipi about the campaigns he made a point of stressing the fact that, despite support being targeted at Kosovo, Jun.28 is a Canadian non-profit organization that has received a lot of home grown support in Canada, as well as from the Canadian embassy located in Serbia.
“I’d also like to thank the Canadian embassy in Serbia for their help and support. It made me very proud of my adopted homeland and I’m thankful to be blessed with the opportunity to help the country of my birth.”
For more information about the organization you can visit 28Jun.org.