In many European countries, you can find organizations not unlike Via Foundation that are supporting local communities. In 2017, we set out to form a “CEE network” to forge connections with these likeminded organizations.
The social issues we are facing today go beyond national borders and it is clear that all European countries, and the organizations within them, are dealing with similar problems: integration of minorities and refugees, societies divided between urban liberals and rural conservatives and threats to fragile East European democracies, to name some of the most pressing.
We have opened a call for another round of ViabilityNet 3.0, through which we support people who are engaged in communities in Central and Eastern Europe – and their ideas. If you are considering filling out an application but you’re still unsure whether ViabilityNet is a good fit for you, these thoughts from Zuzana Šrůmová, a participant of this year’s program, may help you decide.
A year ago a friend of mine said to me: “Zuzko, I really think that you should apply to this program. What you are doing and what you want to do in the future are exactly what this program is all about. I was one of the participants in the last round and it was really great.”
The house of ideas, Mokrinhouse, located in the tiny village of Mokrin in north Serbia, hosted the second meeting of our ViabilityNet 3.0 program.
Mokrin’s past development is typical of rural villages in Central and Eastern Europe. It was lively in the early 20th century, particularly because the Orient Express had a stop here to resupply water to the train’s steam engine, which enabled people to trade between Istanbul and Paris. And then at the end of the 20th century, Mokrin suffered a drastic decline in population.
In the ViabilityNet 3.0 program we are training 14 community leaders from the Central and Eastern European region to support them in the development of more resilient communities. The participants have their own community projects, which you can see here in more detail , and have the chance to participate in four meetings to learn theory and new skills and exchange ideas during the year-long process. The first meeting took place in August 2017 in Slovakia, where we started to become familiar with the concept of resilience.
Sunday, January 28, 2018: The Community in Which We Live
It’s Sunday evening and we are just winding down a strenuous weekend. Over the past few weeks, the presidential elections have dominated the TV news, debates on the Internet, in pubs and in families. Some people are celebrating, others are saddened. Whatever side you find yourself on, trust that the presidential election is not the most important thing that should be driving our lives. How many times have you met the president, talked to him or at least seen him up close? The president represents us officially but is removed from our daily lives (spatially and for many, ideologically as well). But each and every day we have the chance to meet and talk to people who live in our immediate surroundings – our neighbors, people who live in our apartment buildings, in our districts, town or village. Do we take advantage of these opportunities?
Greetings from Via Foundation and welcome to 2018. Although we’ve only spent two weeks in this fresh new year, we’re sure that as 2018 unfolds we’ll see stories just as inspiring as those we witnessed in 2017. Thanks to your support, we were able to support more than 130 projects last year – projects led by people who are changing the Czech Republic for the better, along with 14 in other countries. Thank you to all of our supporters for helping us both financially and by following our work.