In the focus of this year’s study visit to Bački Monoštor, within the project Share your knowledge, there was economic empowerment of women at the local level. The visit on May 25th was organized with the aim of introducing participants to the creation of women from this Vojvodina region. Participants had the opportunity to meet and enjoy a pleasant atmosphere with strong women from the local and Podunav Association.
Zdenka Mitić (Citizens Association Podunav), the first woman secretary of the local community Bački Monoštor, was a guide to us throughout the day, not only through the nature under the protection of UNESCO, but also through the experiences of women entrepreneurs. To begin with, we have been presented by a rather engaged association in the field of preservation and improvement of the environment, the Association of the Danube Region. Zdenka informed us that in this area there is an initiative to increase the activities of women in the sphere of social entrepreneurship, but also in the field of eco-rural tourism. In addition to the initiative itself, efforts are being made by local authorities to empower and assist women who have opted for entrepreneurship. The work of the association is also focused on the preservation of cultural heritage, and the potential of their women is seen as necessary on the road to it. Backi Monostor has been several times domestic summer feminist encounters, and on the other hand, Sombor is working on a project that allows women to lavender, which will later be exported, indicating that they are engaged in the field of solving the problem of unemployment and leaving the country . Their work at the opening of a social enterprise for women, which would be dealt with in this work, confirms that the local government values the work and achievements of women. Therefore, there are resources, initiatives and potential in the women themselves to get their seats, which at the same time has positive consequences in terms of gender equality, in these areas.
Women really have the will to get involved in entrepreneurial flows, Anica Periškić (Beekeeping Periškić) has convinced us. Anica inherited the work of beekeeping by marriage, and in time she loved him so much that she now dealt with him as a serious family business. The necessary skills and requirements of this work have learned from her grandfather, and she initiated her own participation at the fairs. She first appeared with her husband at fairs in Belgrade, but in time she read about her passion for beekeeping, that she no longer has to go as far as to present her products. The fact that at the local and smaller communities now recognize and value her work, is one example of how effort, experience and learning are paid out. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, she does not stop there, but also puts emphasis on environmental protection, and organizes the Beekeeping section for children.
After tasting homemade brandy and gingerbread, we headed towards the Škoka Ethno House Mali Bodrog, where the housewife, Divna Eržika, welcomed us with a traditional lunch. She is a wonderful member of the Bodrog Festival where she promotes nature, tradition and old crafts. However, domestic foods did not overcome us, how much its attitude towards the view and the way of using natural resources for the development of our own business. Under the old walnut tree, we heard a story about how she made a comfortable, autentic space for rest from the house for 200 years. She arranged it not to disturb the Duke’s spirit in the old material. Divna says that she deals with this in love and that her goal is “to show the harmony and peace of man and nature”. Every inflow of profits from catering uses to make some more within this space, which makes it “a reflection of its soul”. It attributes its success to the fact that people can recognize love and will as their initiators.
We met with Sabin Gromovic, who is professionally engaged in decoupage. She recognizes the importance of preserving natural resources, which is reflected in the fact that she uses wood waste as a material for her boxes, which her father does not use during the production of boats. Inspired by the story of these engaged women, we finished the day by riding a boat, getting to know the history of the Great Bach Channel.
We managed to make sure that these women are not only successful entrepreneurs, but also that their role in environmental protection is so high. Economic empowerment and support for their engagement contribute, among other things, to reducing unemployment and leaving the country. However, as we concluded in the conversation with Zdenko, there is still room for improvement, assistance from organizations is necessary, and the promotion of good practices is never enough. Despite this, Anica, Divna and Sabina are not only evidence that it is possible to stay in the country and to deal with what fills us, but also prove that this Vojvodina village leads women!