Increase of self-employment opportunities for women


This mostly rural area is now inhabited by Croats and Serbs, domicile population and returnees, and Croat settlers from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They all face the same problems in rebuilding their livelihoods. Women are especially vulnerable as traditionalist mentality and lack of opportunities prevented them to seek sustainability through employment. The MDG-F supported program “Building sustainable communities in the area of return”, among other, specifically targets women groups that seek to change their situation through education, self-employment and civil society activities in their communities.

The Hrvatska Dubica Women Association, gathering over 30 women and led by Ms Vesna Mastelic, has revitalized traditional old crafts making them a part of the tourism offer of the area. They refurbished an old traditional wooden house in the town center and turned it into an ethno-house and a point-of-sale of souvenirs produced by the Association members.

The Association has successfully completed all activities within the Project creating a grass-root platform for empowering women and now is in need of additional funds in order to ensure further development of the initiative and its sustainability.

Ms Mastelic expressed satisfaction with the programme and stated that: “ the MDG-F sponsored project not only helped us in establishing a functioning woman’s association and helped us in ensuring basic tools for our work, but it has also put us in contact with other similar groups in Croatia with which we can now share experiences and ideas”. Ms Mastelic and her friends are not stopping here… “We are currently planning, together with the Dubica municipality, to initiate planting of several lavender fields in the area, to engage in adventure tourism activities on Una river, and bring in as many women from the town to co-operate with us and participate as much as they can in increasing of their household budgets”, Ms Mastelic concluded.

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