The Slovenia Times

Ladies' Power



SILA is a non-profit organisation dedicated to social, cultural, philanthropic and educational exchange among its members and within Slovenian society in general. It is a dynamic organisation and the ladies who are members burst with ideas so perhaps it is not a coincidence that in Slovene the abbreviation SILA means "power" or "strength".
The organisation was founded in 1993. The idea was to meet the growing need for a society to make newly arrived diplomatic wives feel at home in Slovenia. Today SILA has around 150 members who come from international diplomatic and business circles. Some members are married to Slovenians but the majority have been born and raised in the country and simply wish to be active in an international environment.
"SILA is an organisation where you can give and also take, but on a different level," explains Aleid Douma, the president of the organisation, which originally began in the Netherlands. "SILA provides its members a chance to experience Slovenia and expand their knowledge of the country in all its aspects. To achieve this we organise many activities - guides around cities and museums, hiking, cycling, skiing and language courses to name but a few."

The Famous Bazaar

The society's biggest event is undoubtedly its annual bazaar, the eighteenth edition of which takes place later this month. On 26 November, Gospodarsko razstavišče in Ljubljana will be home to approximately 34 stalls where people from all over the world will sell the products of their nations. Visitors get the chance to buy something special and original and at the same time help raise money for selected charities.
"Last year we raised EUR 60,000," notes Douma. "The items on sale on the bazaar aren't bargains - they serve a higher purpose."
Raising the funds is the main purpose of the event but it is not the only one: "In my opinion the cultural aspect of the bazaar are also crucial as one can get in touch with a great variety of countries and their cultures," comments Douma. "And what is also vital is friendship, appreciating each other, having fun and establishing links between Slovenia and other countries."


As always, there will be a rich cultural programme at the bazaar with many school choirs and dancing and folklore groups set to perform. There will also be a raffle and an area where visitors can bring books they no longer need. This year the bazaar is going to introduce a new important theme - the environment. Only paper bags will be available and recycling will be a priority.
Douma has been president of SILA for a year and she conducts her mission with great care and seriousness: "I am a teacher by profession and thus I always have the urge to teach experience, knowledge and most importantly guide people to goals that would expand their horizons," she says. "I wish to do this with SILA as well - bring it to a different level through building community and stressing the importance of people being together and collaborating even more."
"If one just sits idly at home, does nothing and closes themselves from the world, there is no gain in this for anybody."


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