IAN is a local non governmental organization established in 1997, during the war on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Huge number of refugees without homes has motivated a lot of international and local organization to provide humanitarian aid for those people. IAN understood that several civil wars in our country would have strong, long term consequences on mental health of all people, especially of refugees and internally displaced people who were under the biggest pressure at that moment. Because of that IAN has decided to undertake activities including protection and promotion of mental health of those people through establishing Trauma centre - service for free of charge psychological support.
Trauma Centre later extended its activities to cover local population, since the years of war and poverty had also left traces on them. The number of beneficiaries has grown over time, justifying thereby the need for such service.
War in Kosovo, NATO bombing of the country and humanitarian crisis that followed, brought completely new challenges. During that time, IAN developed six more psychosocial centres in Serbia, while organising distribution of humanitarian aid to internally displaced persons from Kosovo, who sought refuge in Serbia. Aid included clothing and hygienic items, medicines and food. Approximately 50,000 IDPs received some form of help through IAN’s offices.
As an organisation dedicated to the beneficiaries, IAN has realised that only a comprehensive approach in helping those people could have strong impact on their lives and we decided to establish other services to help them plan their future. First, we established a centre for comprehensive approach (medical, psychological, legal and psychiatric help) to victims of torture, especially war torture. IAN Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (CRTV) started to work in September 2000. At the present moment, merged services of Trauma Centre and CRTV receive approximately 800 clients per year.
When the rapid response program satisfied the urgent need for humanitarian aid and after establishing good practice in psychological counselling, in 2000 IAN has started developing projects facilitating search for durable solutions. Repatriation sector has started assisting refugees in a decision making process – whether to return to their countries of origin or stay in the country of exile i.e. Serbia. In this period provision of psychological, informational and legal support was the most important, and it still is of great importance.
After Kosovo crises, IAN began with the programme of supporting the IDPs from Kosovo and Metohija facilitating return related activities in some of the most difficult areas of Kosovo as well as supporting IDP associations and other NGOs through skills building.
However, another need emerged as extremely relevant and sought for and it included education of these vulnerable categories. Everyday struggle for survival has left no time for them to think of their future. Due to these reasons IAN decided to start the programmes of free education designed for these categories in 2001.
As an organisation that strives to improve the quality of people’s lives in our society, in 2003 IAN started to fight one of the biggest killers of our time: HIV and AIDS. Jointly with government institutions and international agencies, we have developed the first Voluntary Counselling and Testing centre in our country and started to advocate for spreading VCt model through the whole Serbia.
IAN continually records all relevant data about our beneficiaries and interventions in working with them as well as all relevant changes that happen as a result of our activities. These data are important for better identification of beneficiaries’ needs and needs of society and are valuable resource for planning future programs. Since 2002 IAN has been conducting separate international and inter-disciplinary research studies within consortiums of respectable institutions in Serbia and abroad.