by Josette Combes (MES)
On April 28 2016 in Prague, a conference titled «Social Solidarity Economy » took place, organised by the Ekumenickà Academie. RIPESS Europe participated with Josette Combes in a round table dedicated to international experiences. Asked by Markéta Vinkelhoferovà, after a presentation of RIPESS Europe and a definition of SSE, I described the experience of parental nurseries in an intercultural context, the issue of caring for the infants being one of the major problems for young families. Ashish Kothari presented the forms of organisations that Indian societies have invented to resist to the effects of a particularly unequal society and to establish a radical and ecological democracy. Another Indian, Lakshmi Narayan, showed how a women’s cooperative managed the waste of their village and were able to become financialyy autonomous and regain trust in themselves. Konstantina Kranou spoke of the different formes of SSE in Greece, illustrating the example of the popular canteens and other forms of solidarity that arised to help solve the situation of refugees.
The participants from Eastern Europe were all bringing cooperative projects. Wojtek Mejor represented a cultural cooperative in Warsaw. We had the chance of visiting first in video (and the next day in person for lunch) café culturel ROH situated in Prague and the cooperative roasting fair and organic coffee in which Markétà is involved. This cooperative that we visited the next day employs disabled people and researches the high quality coffee and roasting by practicing a fair price.
It was a pleasure, the next day, to listen to the debate between Martin, the head of the cooperative and Tine and Živa who creates Buna, a cooperative of fair coffee in Ljubljana, the capital of the Slovenia, and whose market activity supports a popular education initiative for ecological vigilance and solidarity with producers in the South..
It should be noted that these projects are linked through SUSY, a European project which brings together 24 countries with experiences of different scale.
A stimulating meeting with young promoters of Eastern Europe and representatives from the huge country in full (r)evolution which is the India. RIPESS EU must support the development in the East of Europe, where needs are relevant, and big business and financial investors are only looking for speculative opportunities. And they are present in Prague with the high glass buildings alongside the small houses of the old Prague (before they tear them down?).
This post is also available in / aussi en: French