Council of Europe Development Bank awarded Atina and Bagel Bejgl

Council of Europe Development Bank awarded Atina and Bagel Bejgl

Photo: CEB/Fotis Plegas G

We are very proud to inform you that Atina, and our women's entrepreneurial initiative Bagel Bejglwhose profits are used to finance support program for victims of human trafficking, is the winner of the CEB award for 2023, an award from the Council of Europe Development Bank. This award is given for outstanding contributions to social cohesion, that is, projects that recognize and address various social problems and contribute to their solution in an innovative and effective way.

“Atina’s project offers to the survivors of gender-based violence and trafficking a possibility to lead an economically independent life and regain their deserved place in society. We can only commend and highly support this extraordinary initiative,” said Marja Ruotanen, Director General of Democracy and Human Dignity at the Council of Europe and President of the Jury, at the ceremony held on June 8 in Athens, Greece. 

On behalf of Atina and Bagel Bejgl, the award was accepted by director, Marijana Savić. You can see the atmosphere from the award ceremony on the photos.

On that occasion, Savić pointed out that Atina approaches the recovery and reintegration of victims of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation as a long-term process whose part is Bagel Bejgl as well:

“We serve women and girls who have never had reliable social connections and support mechanisms. The majority of them don’t have supportive families or friends. They’ve experienced trauma, and it’s difficult for them to trust. That is why we promote survival and resilience. These two are a package, not a single intervention. Donor funding is typically short-term, but our commitment to the women we serve does not end.”

You can read the entire speech, which captivated everyone present, here. 

In addition to Bagel Bejgl, the second and third places were awarded to Humana nova (Croatia), which employs persons with disabilities and other socially excluded persons who make new items from discarded textile products; as well as L'Outil en main (France), which introduces young people to crafts through intergenerational workshops with artists, volunteers and retirees.

In line with its social mandate, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) launched an annual competition in 2020 to acknowledge and reward remarkable contributions to social cohesion. Five independent judges from the fields of social development, social entrepreneurship, academia and civil society select the winning projects, after eligible applications are assessed on impact, sustainability and innovation/replicability by CEB experts.

In 2023, Marja Ruotanen, Director General of Democracy and Human Dignity, Council of Europe, presided over the Jury, which also included Guillaume Capelle, Founder of SINGA and CALM; Ornella D’Amico, Deputy Secretary General, Finance in Common; Thomas Marois, Reader in Development Studies, SOAS University of London; and Tomáš Boček, Vice-Governor for Target Group Countries, CEB.

The next edition of the CEB Award will be launched in January 2024. For more information visit" style="text-decoration:none;"> 

Bagel Bejgl was founded in 2015, as a women's entrepreneurial initiative whose goal is to ensure, through the market economy, the sustainability of funding for programs of re/integration of victims of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation that Atina has been running for the past 20 years, as well as the possibility of their employment. Many years of experience working with victims of various types of exploitation, including human trafficking, has enabled the organization, as a non-profit entity, to successfully run this social enterprise for nine years already.

This is the second award that Bagel Bejgl has received. As part of the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge, Bagel Bejgl initiative was awarded the #WEEmpower award in 2018 for its efforts in advancing sustainable development goals and improving the position of women and girls in our society and globally!

Visit Bagel Bagel, which is located at Kneza Danila 39, in Belgrade, and you can also give us virtual support through social networks Facebook and Instagram and help as many people as possible learn about (and try!) our bagels!