Through knitting to economic and social empowerment of women

“We bind broken links with our threads” – Nadira Škaljić, social enterprise Stitch 22

That successful stories of social enterprises are not a rarity and that with a support from the EU this form of entrepreneurship in BiH is given a momentum is shown by the example of Nadira Škaljić, social entrepreneur from Sarajevo, who brought the idea of economic and social empowerment of women into life. Social enterprise “Stitch 22” headed by Nadira Škaljić, engages 350 women knitters whose handmade products are put in the market in Europe, America and Asia and thereby make 900 000 KM income.

Just in 2018, we made over 30 000 clothing items from yarn and we exported it, whereas in 2019 we managed to exceed this number. We employed a large number of female knitters, mostly of older age, who fall under “difficult-to-employ” category and thereby secured a source of income for them. In order to keep developing, we need a legal framework for our business model, model of social entrepreneurship. We are an example showing that the social entrepreneurship is an exceptional chance for economic growth of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, underlines Nadira Škaljić.

Successful operations of this social enterprise in foreign market is an indicator that social enterprises may win their place in the market with their quality offer but they need a legal framework which will recognize this form of entrepreneurship and  acknowledge them as a driver of economic growth.

What distinguished this enterprise from the others is the fact that they give a portion of their profit to resolve social issues, in this case the employment of persons who would otherwise not have a fighting chance to get hired, and whose traditional skills, as shown in practice, are more appreciated abroad than locally.

Our mission is to economically empower women in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We bring together women knitters from urban and rural areas, we bring together traditional skills and modern design, we bring together women from Republika Srpska and Federation, we bind broken links with our threads”, said Nadira.

Famous fashion magazine Vogue published photographs of handmade items by these knitters on several occasions describing them as a perfect match of modern design and traditional knitting skills.

Social enterprise “Stitch 22” is a part of the social enterprises network emerged from the project “Contribution of civil society organization to the development of social entrepreneurship” funded by the European Union in the amount of EUR 487 000 and implemented by the “Foundation of Local Democracy” from Sarajevo and “Lara” foundation from Bijeljina.