„Sombor may not die” – with such radical words they boil their aim down to the essence. Nine activists and supporters founded the initiative „Fabrika” (factory) in order to stop the slow death of the city. Their aim: Sombor should get back some activism, creativity and innovation. Things, the multicultural city in the tri-border area had been famous for in the years before the Balkan wars and the centuries of political and economic crises.
And how is this supposed to work? Tanja Adžić and her fellow campaigners therefor form a sort of an incubator for good ideas, a social accelerator, as experts would say. Thus, they want to give adolescents and young adults a leg-up with their projects and initiatives in a professional way.
„Sombor is a city worth living and loving”, says Tanja, “but it is hard to implement new things here. There is no support and no money. Therefore, I wondered what I could do by myself. The initiative „Fabrika” wants to help adolescents to realize their ideas so that they do not have to leave the city anymore.”
Tanja herself has been in Belgrade as a linguist for several years and returned now to her hometown – also because she thinks that life is more worth living here and less stressful than in the metropolis. „I noticed that there is often a pessimist and discouraged atmosphere among pupils and young people. There is neither moral nor financial support for their talents. Many adolescents think they have to leave Sombor and have to go to Novi Sad, Belgrade or right away abroad in order to fulfil themselves. Yet, the more young people leave Sombor, the worse the situation gets here. We want to break through this vicious circle.”
Therefore, Tanja Adžić and Srđan Bajić founded „Fabrika” and looked for and found a team of mentors and skilled supporters.
„Fabrika” rented rooms in the city centre (Pariska 6/see map below) and wants to become an incubator and accelerator for good ideas and initiatives.
„Everybody, who had tried this before, knows that a good idea itself is not enough. In order that it becomes reality, you need specific abilities and support. We are going to provide working space and office rooms, our mentors are going to accompany the projects, we are going to show how fundraising, public relations activities and presentation work, we motivate, teach English and want to connect with contact persons and open doors”, Tanja describes the work of “Fabrika”.
In the last weeks, they already touted in their target group of young people from 15 to 25 in Sombor, they visited schools and societies and the response is positive.
Thus, in autumn, the first semester starts, which lasts for five months. Three to four teams with altogether 10 to 12 persons are going to take part. They are all going to meet once a week in the „Fabrika” rooms, to form their ideas and projects and further develop them. Additionally, mentors are going to give advice from their specialist fields like public relations, legal aspects or campaign management. Furthermore, famous and successful Serbian activists from areas like environment, minority rights or LGBT are going to come to Sombor to help the up-and-coming generation.
„Exchange between the teams, that are going to work in the same room, is also important to us here. This stimulates creativity, communication, mutual support and dynamics”, Tanja explains.
The focus of the project in the winter semester is going to be political work and political participation since local elections are going to take place in Vojvodina next year. Which ideas those young people want to realize with the help of „Fabrika”, cannot be yet revealed, of course. In a new semester with new participants in summer 2016, the main emphasis of the projects is going to be on art and culture in Sombor.
„We know that it is hard to get money for it in Serbia. Thus, we started a fundraising campaign for „Fabrika” on the platform Indiegogo and we also hope for support from donors, charities, companies or emigrated local patriots from abroad”, says Tanja, who, beside her work for „Fabrika”, teaches English at a language school and translates books from Dutch into Serbian.
Whereas they want to do without governmental support and even keep the biggest possible distance to politics and government. Tanja: „Everybody should have equal chances and make a progress based on his or her efforts. However, that is not how it does work in the political system of Serbia, thus, we want nothing to do with this. We want to keep our independence this way.”
You can find more information about „Fabrika” on our homepage (Serbian) and on the website of the fundraising campaign (English) – there you can also make a financial contribution to the initiative. „Fabrika” is also represented on Facebook and Twitter.
Sombor Blog is going to report about the progress of the initiative and the first projects that are going to leave the factory.
Read more english reports from Sombor and Serbia here.
Promotion video of initiative „Fabrika“
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Translation: Aleksandra Davidović, Belgrade