From the presentation at the 32nd Belgrade Ignite “Get Involved no. 3” (29 October 2015, Impact Hub, Belgrade)
(…) When I became a mom in 2009, I was the happiest and most fulfilled person in the world, but at the same time, I was also lonely. Not having the fortune of having kids at the same time as my friends, I longed for other moms, to exchange experiences, to go for walks, and most of all – to share my fears with them. That is when I used the situation to transform myself and realized that our responsibility begins with our imaginations.
And so, a few years later, I met two wonderful women, moms with whom at first I started to do business together, then we started to hang out, then our kids started to hang out. (…) We had the idea of providing support to other moms going through the same experience at the start of their parenthood. At the time, all three of us were entrepreneurs, we were all engaged in new work, i.e. we did not work in our primary occupations, and our work was tied to our children and grew with our children. This is how Sonja Dakić, Milica Čalija and Tamara Dragović became UdruŽene (“Women Joining Forces”), with the idea of supporting other moms.
At the time when UdruŽene were born, the association “Roda – roditelji u akciji” from Croatia organized the activity of collecting baby-carriers and slings for refugee moms from the Near East and Northern Africa. Through an agreement with this association, we took over this initiative at the level of Serbia, transforming it into a personal initiative. We wanted to invite other moms to support refugee moms and the response was incredible (…). We wanted to make it easier for refugee moms to carry their children on their very difficult road, but it was also important to provide them with emotional support, to look at everyone, to have a smile for everyone, and we always got a smile back. We first distributed slings in Belgrade, then moved to Šid later, as the refugees changed their route.
Once you get home, after everything, you get involved and everything hurts, it is hard. Yes, opening up hurts sometimes. But the most important thing of all is that it opens you up for some important questions. Lying down next to my children, dry and well-fed, I wondered if this can be my privilege? I realized it cannot, it is everyone’s right! (…) No matter how little it may seem you can do – the barest minimum – when every one of us does a little, it becomes a lot, particularly for people in the most difficult situation in their life.