In April 2023, a gathering of women from Balkan countries was held in Stara Planina as part of the Balkan Earth Sisters project supported by the Reconstruction Women’s Fund, hosted by Zeleno Doba – Center for sustainable growth and development. We gathered with the aim of getting to know each other, establishing contacts and sharing our knowledge and experience of living and working in communities, and planning how to bring the concept of permaculture closer to women in the Balkan region, who can use permaculture tools to initiate positive changes in their communities.
The initiative came from the Green Age team and was supported by women from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo.
All the women from the gathering are involved in sustainable practises such as permaculture, gardening, alternative education, natural building, personal development or have social skills which contributed to the harmony of the group. The women present brought an element of sustainability and regeneration in every activity we delivered.
In the setting of an old traditional village in the south of Serbia, we experienced the warmth of the locals and their homes, the nature that surrounded us and the food that enriched all of our senses. We spent 4 days working and creating together. The gathering included discussions and lectures, workshops on dance and connecting with the body and our ancestors, a tour of the village and getting to know the local environment, a visit to the waterfalls and a lesson on traditional Slavic throat singing in the forest.
During the 4 days we created a safe space for women, learned how to be each other’s friends and supporters, saw the challenges we face in society and in relationships with others, and took away ideas for further steps in the project as well as valuable experiences that we will practice independently for a more sustainable life. As a result of the gathering, using the Dragon Dreaming technique, we were able to ‘dream’ a gathering on a regional level with a much larger number of women who either want to live and work in sustainable communities or are already doing so to a large extent, and present useful life skills from permaculture and other sustainable practises at the ecological, economic and social levels during the gathering to empower and prepare the women from the region to take initiative in bringing about positive change in their communities.
Some of the most important sentences in our dream circle were:
“We dream that through curriculum creation, we will: Inspire each other, expand the circle of friends in the Balkans, dance in the camp ground, learn a common song and choreography, explore Balkan traditions, music, and dances, support the qualities of women in exploring their full potential, trigger positive change, celebrate life, learn through play, have clean spring water and healthy food from the region, be surrounded by men, children, and animals, learn a lot from nature, have abundance accompanying us in everything, that after seeing each other again we can not wait to meet again!”
We are looking forward to inviting you for the next steps, further development of the training for transformative leadership for women in the Balkan region and even more gatherings like this one.
Stay tuned for more 🙂