My greatest work at the beginning of my stay and work in this village was focused on women and their opportunities, as well as the need to develop their products and services in a quality way, creating more opportunities for a quality life for their family in the village.
Dragana Tomić Pilipović
As someone who was raised, educated, and worked in a big city and in big business systems, making the decision to to leave this environment 12 years ago and move to start my life in the countryside was certainly surprising to most of the people around me, and initially even to myself.
Good afternoon, my name is Dragana Tomić Pilipović, and for 7 years I’ve been working and living with my family in the small village of Vrmdža, near Sokobanja and Rtanj. 12 years ago, I founded the Center for Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship, with a base in this village, with the idea of developing a Center for Education in Nature. This is when my desire to work on development of the village and its revival through education, networking, work with people – above all with the women of this place – was born. The root of all of this was my desire to work on developing the concept of a Center where various gatherings and educations can take place, later named Rural HUB – a place where all these activities happen, above all, various ideas buzz.
Rural HUB is the first rural joint space for work and education (coworking) in Serbia designed in a way that the entire village is a HUB, developing a socially responsible model of work and coexistence with community members in a sustainable and appropriate way. This is a place where urban and rural knowledge, people, personal stories, dreams – big and small – meet in a rurban way. A place where ideas get their own safe space to express themselves and wrap up in potential implementation plans. Above all, this place is a beacon for all those who have the desire to launch their ideas, but are afraid or do not know how to do it, and would benefit from support in that process. This place gives confirmation through our own example that this kind of story and life is possible in the village.
I must confess that my greatest work at the beginning of my stay and work in this village was focused on women and their opportunities, as well as the need to develop their products and services in a quality way, creating more opportunities for a quality life for their family in the village. In addition to great commitment and effort, these women showed great courage to enter uncharted waters, learn and experiment with knowledge and experiences, all with joy and gratitude for the new opportunities they received through this type of action.
After so many years of working together and being with them in this community, I can say that these women carry stability, integrity and love, which are the essences of every community and a community’s proper development. No matter how much I’ve taught them about business and related skills, I was the one who learned even more from them about life itself and its essence, which means that today, regardless of my urban origin, I can proudly say that I too am a Village woman.
Dragana Tomić Pilipović, entrepreneur, founder and executive director of the Center for Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship – CDOP whose goal is to inform, educate and encourage sustainable development and social entrepreneurship