Balkan Cultural Aid Response for Emergencies (B+CARE) is the result of a strong partnership between Cultural Heritage without Borders – Albania (CHwB) and Urban Development Center – Belgrade (UDC). B+CARE is a regional project that aims to:
- Understand the risks to heritage in the Balkans and formulate strategies to address those risks.
- Coordinate with and among national disaster response institutions and cultural institutions on effective strategies for cultural emergency response.
- Train and deploy a network of volunteers that can conduct ‘first aid’ for cultural heritage across the Balkans.
The catalyst for putting this project into action came through the inspiring courses of ICCROM. Staff of CHwB-Albania attended ICCROM’s course on “Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage” at Ritsumeikan University, Japan in September 2014. And staff of both CHwB-Albania and UDC completed the ICCROM course “First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis” in Amsterdam in April 2015. These experiences and the support of the Prince Claus Fund (whose mantra is ‘culture is a basic need’) allowed CHwB-Albania and UDC Belgrade to partner up and launch the B+CARE project.
B+CARE now exists as a regional platform for training, awareness raising and response for cultural heritage threatened by disaster. With the first volunteer training on first aid to cultural heritage completed in March 2016, the wider B+CARE program is in its early stages. But already, there is a dedicated team of people at both UDC Belgrade and CHwB-Albania, along with the first group of B+CARE volunteers, who are pushing it forward.