My country is dying. It is an indisputable fact and a harsh reality. What makes one country besides its land, buildings, roads, and the piece of sky above it? The people, of course. If people of a country are dying out, the state itself is dying as well.
According to UNICEF's latest data, Serbia is one of the 11 countries in the world which will lose more than 15% of its population by 2050. Serbia itself has been in a demographic crisis since the early 1990s with a death rate that still exceeds its birth rate. Serbia, along with Bulgaria, has one of the most negative population growth rates in the world, with one of the lowest fertility rates (just 1.44 children per woman). 1/5 of all households consist of only one person, and Serbia has among the ten oldest populations in the world.
Here are more quick facts:
There are 4.709 villages in Serbia
200 are unpopulated
1.200 villages are in the process of disappearing
1.034 villages have less than 100 inhabitants
200 villages are without anyone younger than 20 years
50.000 houses are empty, without living soul
150.000 are temporary unpopulated
In 86 percent of Serbian villages number of inhabitants are rapidly falling
In 173 Serbian schools, there is only one pupil
A country resembles an organism, and each of its members, just like a cell of a body, is equally important. A state is not a handful of people in several bigger cities, who fully control the stream of money, and decide, by sitting at the oak wood table and with a couple of laws and signatures "solving" the destiny of all forgotten regions.
The country is also a boy in the worn-out shoes who walk kilometers to the school in the neighboring village, which will also be closed soon. Homeland is a villager who looks at the sky and prays for the rain because he knows that if his harvest halves this year, he's got no one to ask for help. The country is that student-genius who, with the tears in his eyes, looks down from the plane as contours of his country is fading; the land he had to leave and start a new life somewhere else.
As a photographer and as a human and part of my nation, I cannot change history. Cosmic and historical powers which brought my country to the verge of collapse are too strong to be changed or redirected. The only thing in my power is to use my camera and capture that inevitable process - that boy on the dusty road; that villager who watch the sky or the empty streets of his home place. That is the only thing I can do. As well as this country I was born in; I have no other choice.
I never beg or ask for help. It's not in my nature and I was not raised in that way, but if you can find a way to help this project, just let me know.
Here is the link to full ongoing and updating project gallery
Thank you for your time
PEACE & LIGHT