Humanitarian organization „28. June “is a multinational organization dedicated to humanitarian, social and philanthropic work. In May 2018, it became the first humanitarian organization in the Western Balkans to be accorded special consultative status with the UN. It was founded in 2011 and registered in 2012 in Canada as a non-profit organization.
Through its humanitarian campaigns for Serbs in Serbia and the region, this charity has raised awareness of humanitarian work to a higher level, and its founder and director, Philip Filippi, was recently named one of the five most inspirational people in Britain by using its success to shape society to better.
Exclusively for Frontal, in a joint interview, the founder and director of the charity organization “28.Jun” Filip Filipi Jankovic and the director general of the organization Snezana Dimitrijevic talk about the work of the organization but also about the new humanitarian action to help Serbian children in BiH.
FRONTAL: Recently, the Entrepreneur and Investor magazine ranked you among the five most inspirational philanthropists alongside Mark Zakenberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as actress Rosario Davson, which is a great honor. What does it mean to you to be among these names?
JANKOVIC: There were several less well known people on the list besides me, the people you mentioned certainly work on an unimaginably higher level. We are glad that there is media interest because it helps to present our movement to a larger audience as well as to attract new members. I really appreciate when some of our bigger projects are released, but this is the first interview I give after many years because it doesn’t suit me too much exposure.
FRONTAL: You came to America at the age of seven. How difficult was it for one child to get used to a new life, a new country and new people?
JANKOVIC: Getting used to the new environment is very difficult for every immigrant, especially in the beginning. Our culture is warmer and more oriented toward family and friends, while theirs is more individualistic and cool. I had problems with authority when I was a teenager, but looking back on that time, I was very lucky not to have grown up in the Balkans in the 90’s.
FRONTAL: At 24, you decided to quit your music career and focus your life on helping people and making this world a better place. Where did that decision and desire to help come from?
JANKOVIC: Creating music as well as other forms of art can be fulfilling in itself. Getting paid and making money from it is also good and tempting. What makes me different from other artists is that they make money and celebrate the center of their lives … on the radio or get reviews on YouTube. My whole life felt like that, and when I was 24, I could finally devote to it my whole life.
Snezana, what is it that prompted you to do humanitarian work?
DIMITRIJEVIC: Living in the West or in countries that have a much better standard of living than in Republika Srpska provides and provides a wealth of opportunities and ways to live a good life. However, it is only when a man stands on his own foot in a foreign world and finds a place under this alien sun, does he awaken even more sorrow and pain when he remembers his brothers, sisters, relatives, friends he left when he left for another country. Then that famous spell of ours works, and we start to wonder how and how to help my family and my homeland from abroad. And somehow, at that moment, “June 28” comes into my life and completely changes it from the roots. Then I realized that humanitarian work might be the only way for us Serbs from far Australia to help our brothers and sisters who remained to guard Because we went and left the birth pile does not give us the right to give up and give up.
FRONTAL: In 2012, you founded a charity on June 28th. How many organizations currently have members, where does everything work and how far have you delivered help?
JANKOVIC: We have over 500 members worldwide, and we have managed to deliver about 200 tons of humanitarian and medical aid worth $ 7 million so far, but I think we can do a lot more. We constantly had to swim upstream because we valued the 20th century Serbian values in 21st century Serbia. Our movement values freedom, honor and courage – which does not give us an edge in today’s world. For example, because of our June 28 name and logo, we lost millions of dollars in potential donations and sponsorships. Honestly, that is why I am very proud, thank God. I would rather be a leader who inspires my team to work 10 times stronger than to be people who will sell their souls and honor for money from people like Soros.
FRONTAL: The next charity action on June 28th will be organized for Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tell us a bit more about the action itself and what concrete help it is?
DIMITRIJEVIC: Humanitarian organization “28.Jun” is currently working on the preparation of a large New Year’s project, which aims to help Serbian children throughout BiH, as well as to show and point out the problems that our people are facing. We have several thousand packages for Serbian children from Knin to Gracanica, among other things, we had a New Year’s visit and a home for unaccompanied children “Rada Vranješević” from Banja Luka. Of course, helping with New Year’s gifts is not the main goal of our activities, and we also hope that in the coming months, we will increasingly be able to help the Serbian people in BiH starting with social, economic, social and all other topics. We are aware that the position of the Serbian people depends on many factors, however, through our daily activities we try to show that the people can and must stand on their own and show their courage and desire for a better tomorrow. And who can help more and be the unofficial voice of the people than the organization, which is followed by over 500,000 people on social networks and has 1.3 million addresses on its mailing list.
FRONTAL: This is not the first time this organization has assisted the vulnerable in Republika Srpska. Last year, you delivered medical equipment to hospitals across Serbia, Republika Srpska, and Montenegro. How much total assistance have you sent to the Republic of Srpska so far?
DIMITRIIJEVIC: We are, we are helping, we will continue to help the Serbian people wherever they are, and therefore in BiH. Some of our beginnings and cooperation with the Republic of Srpska and the Serbian people in the territory of BiH begins now almost as far back as 2013, when we delivered a container of medical equipment and distributed it to the Health Center in Visegrad, Institute for the Protection of Women and Youth, Refugee Center in Nezuci , as well as the Faculty of Medicine and Clinical Center in Foča. Later, assistance to the Serb people in the Republika Srpska has multiplied through various other projects, and when we look at it from a distance and add up the value of all the donations, we come from over a million dollars over 7 years of work.
FRONTAL: Humanitarian organization June 28 has been granted special consultative status with the United Nations. So you have taken part in the UN, thus allowing the voices of those who cannot speak to be heard. What is it you want to hear at the UN and how important is that status to the organization?
JANKOVIC: I personally believe that the way forward for the Balkans is in reconciliation and multiculturalism. I also believe in justice because our people have suffered a lot from injustice throughout their history. We will use every possible means, including international bodies such as the UN, to spread the truth and our message in defense of what we do. We have yet to find a way and maximize potential opportunities in partnership with Serbian institutions, and this is one of the more difficult ventures we have encountered so far.
FRONTAL: Is our nation around the world prepared to help the poor fellow citizens who remained in their homeland? How difficult is it really to run an organization and raise funds and money to help those who need it?
DIMITRIJEVIC: June 28 is the best indicator of how willing our diaspora people are to help. All the organization, all the logistics, and most of the funding comes from our diaspora people. We are grateful to them for that, and without them, “June 28” would not be where it is today.
When you have a clear goal and vision, no work falls hard. It is difficult only to see what all our people have been through for the last 30 years, and we must use that as a motivation for us all together to not let those years of suffering of the Serbian people ever happen again. Since all the people involved in the organization are volunteers, and they all have their full-time jobs, it can sometimes be difficult to get home after 8 or 10 hours of work and instead of resting and spending time with our family, we are on phones and computers and we are looking for a solution to a number of problems. Yet, when each action is over, it puts a smile on the faces of children and parents as well as the gratitude that people show, eradicates all the fatigue and makes us work harder and more every day.
FRONTAL: Plans for the future?
JANKOVIC: I hope that in the future we will continue to successfully help the powerless and make this world much easier for many people.
Author: Danka Savic