”We collaborate with local producers close to our aid projects!”

Loza Foundation chooses local produce to ensure sustainable development and growth:

Sustainability and a long-term perspective in every phase and area of the organisation are extremely important to charity fundraiser Loza Foundation. The clothes and goods destined for donation are bought from local producers, as close to the aid projects as possible.

“When we were buying pyjamas for the people living at the Demir Kapija institution in Macedonia, we chose a local clothes manufacturer with only 10 employees. We want to contribute to economic growth in the countries where we are active”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

So far, Loza Foundation has purchased 230 pairs of pyjamas, 500 pairs of socks and 300 bath towels to equip their pilot project, the institution in Demir Kapija, with goods for the disabled children and adults living there. All the clothes come from local producers in Macedonia.

The pyjamas are made at a small sewing factory in Kumanovo, the socks come from a manufacturer in Skopje and the towels are from a factory in Veles”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

Working with local producers in the different countries where Loza Foundation is active, and thus contribute to economic growth, is something that was planned right from the start.

We want to contribute to more jobs right there in the poor region and buy from small producers with growth potential. We also hope to inspire Swedish companies to manufacture in Macedonia. They have a long history of textile production in this region and are strategically well placed at the heart of Europe. They also have a free-trade agreement, which means that goods that are exported from Macedonia and into the EU are classed as duty-free.

When a local producer cannot be found, Loza Foundation has also contacted companies in Sweden. The Varberg-based company Vagabond, for example, donated shoes to the Demir Kapija institution. But the foundation chooses local produce wherever possible.

“That also helps cut lengthy transport routes, which have a detrimental effect on the environment. When we buy a sweater in Macedonia, which will be worn by people located fairly close to the manufacturing site instead of bringing it to Sweden, we actually save a 2,500 km transportation distance. Furthermore, this purchase will benefit the local economy and create jobs in one of the poorest countries in Europe”, Sabina Grubbeson explains.

Loza will now continue their work of taking care of the different needs at the Demir Kapija institution, Macedonia. The people living there will be given the clothes they need. Underwear and trousers are in great demand. Not to mention washing machines to keep the clothes clean.

“In Sweden, most of us are fortunate enough to have clothes to wear, food on the table and a small amount of money saved at the end of the month. We need to start sharing what we have with people who have nothing and contribute to building a Europe where we look after the weakest in society.”

Next on Sabina’s schedule is a research trip to Bosnia. The aim is to reach out to ones in need and establish a connection with local producers for future aid projects.

“I do hope more people want to contribute to the work we do, so that we can give a little bit of our plethora to people who need it the most!”

Caption: Marina works as a seamstress at Greeny Collection, a small sewing factory in Kumanovo, Macedonia. There are ten employees working here on a small space.  In the future, the manufacturer hopes to move into larger premises and be able to employ more people.

Starting up in Bosnia, group homes and a health project

Anticipation, successes and challenges. During the first year of Loza Foundation our focus has been to get the operations up and running and to broadcast our message to the world. The vision for our second year is to dig deeper and start seeing results. We are, for instance, extending our operations to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“During 2018 our goal is to get twice as good and twice as many!” says the initiator of the foundation, Sabina Grubbeson.

2017 was mostly about launching the pilot project in the institution for disabled people at Demir Kapija, Macedonia, continue our research work and build up the newly started charity foundation. Loza Foundation plan to continue the research in Macedonia during 2018 and is also expanding into Bosnia and Herzegovina. This spring, founder Sabina Grubbeson will visit institutions and organisations in Tuzla and Sarajevo to reach vulnerable people subjected to particularly poor living conditions.  In parallel, there is a project being run where the focus is health, identity and future prospects for the people at Demir Kapija, Macedonia.

“We are striving to give people a more humane situation in their everyday life; for them to be allowed to have personal belongings and also have the possibility to wash and keep themselves clean”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

Members of the Swedish Association of Podiatrists will travel down to Demir Kapija as volunteers and educate the staff in medical foot care. Dental care is also included in the project in order to give the residents at the institution the help they need to take care of their own hygiene.

“We are also looking at possibilities of moving patients out from this sort of institutions and into a more home-like environment. I hope that a few of them will be able to move into a group home of their own before the end of the year. We are looking for a house that can accommodate 4-5 residents and hope to be able to offer these people a real home”, says Sabina Grubbeson.

This autumn, Loza Foundation will participate at the Book Fair in Gothenburg and also the Forum for Human Rights in Stockholm. There are also plans for various lectures in Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmö to increase awareness and share information about the work that Loza Foundation is doing.

“It’s important to tell people about the desperate needs of these countries and how we all can make a difference. We hope these lectures will be an eye-opener and a way to broadcast what we do to support vulnerable people in some of the poorest countries in Europe. ”

As Loza Foundation is entirely dependent on contributions, Sabina Grubbeson hopes that more companies or individuals will choose to support the organisation.

“This Christmas a school in Varberg organised a collection where the proceeds went to Loza Foundation. That gives me great hope for the future and makes me believe in humanity and spirit of generosity. In order for Loza to survive and be able to carry out our projects, we will need at least 40 companies to connect with us as corporate ‘friends of Loza’ during 2018”.

Sabina Grubbesons hope for the rest of 2018 is that the projects in Macedonia and Bosnia will be successful and that people in vulnerable, precarious situations will get the chance of a better life and be respected as valued human beings.

“This will not be achieved overnight, but I have a positive feeling and it seems to be going in the right direction. I just got back from a week in Macedonia, where we had a meeting with the Minister of Social Policy, Mila Carovska. She told us there had been several decisions made to improve the life and situation of disabled adults and children”, Sabina says.

She is hoping that the foundation will grow at least double the size when it comes to volunteers and staff.

“We are also looking for co-founders for the foundation, i.e. companies that want to take on a partner role in Loza Foundation”, says Sabina Grubbeson and points out that running a charity foundation is all about teamwork.

“It requires lots of passionate people, working together to reach a joint goal; a brighter future for the most vulnerable people in Europe.”

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