In Serbia, women survivors of domestic violence find hope in the “Good Garden”
With the first days of spring, “Good Garden” has turned into a green oasis packed with organically grown lettuce, spinach and onion. Marigolds, a plant protector, are planted on all four sides of the greenhouse to prevent harmful insects reach the plants, while basil, as a plant-friend is everywhere to speed up the growing process.
Proudly watching it, Dalida Macura, coordinator of “Good Garden” admits that there is a reason behind the beauty of this green paradise. “I am singing them [plants] songs, but I cannot reveal which ones. That is our [plants’ and her] little secret I have to keep.”
“Good Garden” is not only a social enterprise for growing organic vegetables, but also a training centre for organic production for women survivors of domestic violence who wish to get involved in this sustainable farming method.
Three greenhouses comprise the “Good Garden” in the northern Serbian town of Sombor. It was established within the SHE-Empowerment (ONAsnazivanje) project of Belgrade-based B92 Fund and supported by UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. Kicked off in 2015, the main idea of the project is to contribute in an innovative way to women empowerment through economic independence, but also to promote a healthy lifestyle through production and consumption of organic vegetables. The income from greenhouses goes to the Sombor safe house and activities aimed at their beneficiaries’ economic independence.
The women survivors are able to take part in training by leading experts in organic production in the country. This is where they can get basic knowledge on organic production and learn to develop their own business plans. Since nearly every house in this area has a garden and women are already growing something, organic production can help the women on their path to economic independence.
Read the full story on UN Women's regional website for Europe and Central Asia