Women's Association "IZVOR"
The idea is aimed to build solidarity, connections and strengthening socially excluded groups by organizing specific activities of support which are missing in the local community (helping the elderly, free legal aid, educational capacity-building activities) as well as promoting active citizenship (advocacy, debate groups, public discussions, street actions etc.)
In a small, isolated, impoverished, multiethnic, rural area in Osijek Baranja County, Croatia.
For the past 19 years we have been active in the field of democratization and human rights in a rural, isolated and one of the most impoverished areas which was directly impacted by war and devastation during the 1990s. Although this area had elements of a prosperous urban settlement in the last century, including a developed agriculture and industry, today this community is one of the most impoverished regions with a high percentage of elderly citizens (26,5%), high rate of emigration and almost half the number of citizens compared to before the war. Opportunities for young people are scarce or none, unemployment high, support for preventing social exclusion low. Civic activism is largely discouraged in such context.
Activities are based on the idea of respecting human rights and liberties and active citizenship. We aim to answer the needs of local population who have significant obstacles in realization of their basic rights. By organizing free legal counseling we aim to increase the level of legal protection, rights and liberties for members of vulnerable social groups. By organizing help in the homes of elderly we would aid in the prevention of social exclusion and answering basic human needs, building intergenerational solidarity, while employing other vulnerable groups. Other integrative activities encourage proactive participation in the local community as well as capacity building for members of vulnerable social groups.
Primary focus is on socially excluded people; mostly elderly, who are of poor financial status, living in isolated rural communities and need assistance to continue living in their homes. We will include other especially vulnerable groups (victims of domestic violence, minorities, people with disabilities etc.) who are also at the risk of social exclusion because of poor financial status and exposure to discrimination, mostly women over 50 who have low levels of education, who will be caregivers for the elderly. They will participate in vocational training / educational activities like foreign language or IT courses and other capacity-building activities. Younger people will be included through internship, advocacy and awareness raising activities, volunteer work etc.
Activities will be implemented through 2 programs. Program of supporting and empowering marginalized people enables help in the homes of the elderly in the rural area around Osijek while economically strengthening other marginalized groups through employment, ensures free legal and psychological counseling, and offers educational and capacity-building opportunities (internship, vocational training, social entrepreneurship, language/IT courses). Program of active citizenship includes noting important dates and organizing public debates in the interest of raising awareness and advocacy, volunteer programs etc. Printed books (stories from Tenja after peaceful reintegration ‘98) or made videos/interviews that promote democratic values and community building will be used during such activities.
We would ensure the continuity of legal protection by offering free legal counseling which will contribute to the protection of rights and have preventive effect on various forms of violence, especially abuse of gaining profit with regards to the elderly. For the elderly in the community it would also enable them to stay longer in their own homes, connect with the community and increase the quality of life. For other members of vulnerable /marginalized groups it would bring a period of financial stability through employment, capacity-building in terms of knowledge and skills necessary for later employment, as well as inclusion and acceptance in the community. Active citizenship program will contribute to the democratization and protection of human rights.
We have based our work on values of democracy and equality. Through our work we have established mechanisms which contribute to sharing these values in our community as we motivate people to actively engage in the local community, participate in educational and awareness raising activities as active empowered citizens. This is a long and complex process but also a base for creating equitable social relations.
This idea is extremely important to us because it comes from the real need people from our community have and as such has been developed for many years. It encourages solidarity between people and contributes to the protection of human rights and liberties as well as strengthening democracy. This is especially important in small, impoverished rural areas like Tenja, which to this day has not recovered from the consequences of war devastation and divisions that it has brought
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Staff Cost: 32.000,00 EUR
Office Expenses: 2.000,00 EUR
Equipment: 2.000,00 EUR
Educational / Training fees: 6.500,00 EUR
Visibility / Advocacy (public events, printing booklets / making video): 4.000,00 EUR
We would like to know if the idea could be implemented in your community and how would you modify it.