The conference “Social Entrepreneurship in the Service of the Marginalized”, held last Friday in Sarajevo, ended the three-year project “Enhancing social protection by building capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which strengthened five social enterprises from Bosnia and Herzegovina that employ women from rural areas. persons with disabilities, Roma men and women, and women victims of violence.
Namely, these are social enterprises that were started by non-governmental organizations after they realized in work with the marginalized that they need employment.
“The previous three years were marked by work and clearly visible results. Today at this closing event we are talking about success stories and we are happy to have them. Through the project, we employed the most vulnerable, gave them the opportunity to earn a living, helped them with humanitarian packages during coronavirus pandemic, but most importantly, we strengthened the companies where they work so that in the future they would be able to keep them and pay their salaries. Our purpose was to provide infrastructural, technical and expert support in order for these companies to survive and better position themselves on the market, we are happy to have results “, said Branislav Tanasijević, project manager of CARE International Balkans.
The Association “Otaharin”, whose social enterprise “Agro-Plan” employs Roma men and women in Bijeljina, who work in greenhouses planted with organic vegetables and fruits, shows that there are successful stories.
“Thanks to CARE, we have done a lot. We built the Resource Education Center, we received a container for disposing of materials needed to work on the property, and some vegetables and fruits, we received greenhouses, and support in the form of repro materials, seedlings, but also education that was of great importance. Through the project, we got the opportunity to hire, which we are especially proud of. This project is concrete and practical because the marginalized have direct benefits. I hope that in the future there will be more similar projects “, pointed out Dragan Joković, director of the” Otaharin “Association.
The project also supported the social enterprises of the Association of Citizens “Budućnost” (Eko Budućnost) from Modriča, the Association of Women “Maja Kravica” (OPZ Žena) from Bratunac, the Center for Responsible Democracy “Luna” (OPZ Kreativna vizija), and the Association of persons with cerebral palsy and dystrophy Goražde BPK Goražde (Životna pomoć).
In addition to strengthening the capacity of organizations, the project in the public space of Bosnia and Herzegovina promoted the importance of social entrepreneurship, and especially the importance of recognizing social enterprises through law in BiH. Several round tables were held with representatives of the authorities, non-governmental organizations, private companies, but also other relevant institutions.
The project “Enhancing social protection by building capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina” was implemented by CARE International Balkans in cooperation with CARE Austria, and with the support of the Austrian Development Agency, with funds from the Austrian Development Cooperation.
Both the implementers and donors of the project strongly support social enterprises in BiH, which have only recently begun to come to life, because they see them as an opportunity for everyone to have equal rights and employment opportunities, regardless of disability, race, education, nationality.