Miroslav Pavlovic: helping socially disadvantaged groups realise their potential
After 25 years of a successful career in economics, I wanted to share my experiences, both good and bad. As the president of the League 33 Association, I had fantastic opportunities to fulfill my wish through various courses, workshops, and seminars. I was also a personal mentor to many of our course participants who are members of socially vulnerable groups. I teach them that age is not important for success and personal development.
I am a new member of the EPALE platform and so far I have not had the opportunity to implement ERASMUS+ projects. But together with my team, we already have several ongoing projects in partnership with governmental, non-governmental, and international organizations. These have been mainly aimed at the economic empowerment of socially vulnerable groups. I am very glad to have access to the EPALE network and all these inspiring stories and resources from the community.
"As a single mother of a sixteen-year-old boy, the first thing I learned in life was how to stay calm in really stressful situations." With this sentence, Suzana Misic begins a conversation with her future mentor, who she turned to after a call from the National Employment Service. She had been on the National Employment Service’s records for eighteen years. 18 YEARS! No work experience, no permanent employment! No health and social insurance! Without any fundamental rights in the 21st century. Alone, with a little boy in her arms. She received the call from an unknown number that day, not realising that it was at that moment that her life would begin to write a better story.
Let’s start from the beginning: A few days after Suzana received the call from the Employment Bureau and decided to attend free training for single mothers, she entered the room full of cheerful women. She agreed to take a course for professional seamsters and tailors. At the time, the Association League 33 was implemented through the project Rapid Integration of single mothers into the labor market through training and skills mapping.
At this point, Suzana was a woman without anyone's help, scared, powerless, but keen to make another move in her life. After talking to the team and her future mentor, she enrolled as a student.
We had won her trust, and she stole our hearts. We felt that we were all on the right path together.
Two months after the successful training, Suzana signed the first contracts for her company, which she opened with the help and support of League 33. We believe that the empowerment of individuals and the inclusion of vulnerable groups do not end with the last day of our course. On the contrary. "Stay calm!" her mentor tells her as she hands her the Training Certificate. "I believe that this is the most important trait that will help me be a successful entrepreneur" Suzana answers.
Today, Suzana is a strong, independent, and successful businesswoman. Suzana is just one of the ten single mothers from this group who secured economic independence and gained knowledge and skills for new successes through our training. We guided them along their path towards inclusion. This is what primarily motivates us.
This is just one of the examples of our important projects. Their importance is measured not only by the time and knowledge we have invested in them but also by the results and new opportunities which we have achieved with our socially vulnerable participants (disabled people, Roma, single parents, victims of violence, etc.)
The new project which we are working on is aimed at the additional education of students from the Art School. In addition to the theoretical and practical design teaching in their educational institution, they will also be taught how to sew. In addition to artistic expression, the basics of sewing as a craft will lead to a new fusion of art and business, increase the competitiveness of designers in the labour market, and motivate students to start their own businesses. One of our goals is to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit because only successful individuals gathered around great ideas can create a vision of a better future and the rise of the community in which we live.
These successful individuals are often from socially disadvantaged groups. Our task is to identify them and help them to realise their potential and dreams, to become equal citizens in our society.
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