DEŠA’s working programme, in the very beginning of DEŠA’s work, was managed with drastic situation in the city full of refugees and displaced persons. DEŠA’s women activists were motivated with desire to help women who drift and with trauma walked through the city, not doing anything and waiting for humanitarian aid. It was really easy to identify the need of those women looking for any kind of activities that would call attention of their degrading reality. There was a need for creation of a program in which they would be able to be involved in, to be useful, and to regain dignity by relying on their own creativity.
Only a couple of months after the siege of Dubrovnik in 1993, DEŠA has started with organized activities of the project “Psychosocial adjustment and help for women – displaced women, refugees and local women in need”. In the only free room (or one of rare empty rooms) in the hotel “Libertas”, which was full of war victims, the working programme was defined and in this same narrow space the project was managed for the next few years.
Since those tragic post-war days till today, DEŠA has continued to implement various projects for the purpose of support and help to people in need, education of youth and women, improvement of a quality of life of older persons, encourage small entrepreneurship parallel and in line with promoting sustainable development, evenly developed territory, establish contacts and maintain cross-border cooperation, encourage responsibility and awareness of preserving the environment, affect the reduction of unemployment and social exclusion etc.
DEŠA’s projects are divided into:
- Development projects – based on development of the territory, promotion of the sustainable development, encouragement of the entrepreneurship, reconstruction of tradition and preservation of cultural heritage and traditional values.
- Educational projects – provide an opportunity of additional education to women, youth and elderly, and equally foster personal growth of individuals, as well as reducing unemployment and social exclusion in the local community.
- Projects for the strengthening of civil society – include an activities to encourage voluntary work, various partnerships and associations, as well as other activities related to life quality improvement of local community
Since its establishment until today DEŠA has successfully conducted 13 larger, for the local community relevant projects, organized seven significant seminars, and participated in various conferences in the country and abroad, so that knowledge and experience achieved in such circumstances could be transferred and implemented in their own program, for the benefit of local community.
Besides the numerous project, DEŠA organized many seminars, workshops and round tables, which offer the possibility of enhancing social awareness and building local community. Topics that are regularly and continuously processed include health and prevention, communication in a community, social responsibility of local entities, a comparison of entrepreneurship experiences, rural tourism, entrepreneurship for women and youth, guarantee funds for young entrepreneurs etc.