The concept of the Solidarity Action Day goes back to 1963 in Sweden, when a group of young people launched ‘en dag för Dag’. This day was held in memory of the Swedish Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld, who was killed in a plane crash on his way to a ceasefire negotiation in Congo.
The Solidarity Action Day concept spread quickly across the neighbouring countries: already in the next year, 1964, the first edition of Operasjon Dagsverk took place in Norway. After having crossed the sea, in 1985 the first Solidarity Action Day and the creation of Operation Dagsværk in Denmark took place.
Through the projects the Scandinavian organisations were supporting all over the world with their Solidarity Action Days, contacts to other organisations were established that were directly hooked by the concept of the SAD. This is where story of the Solidarity Action Day in Belgium and Italy began. They implemented the Solidarity Action Day respectively in 2006 as YOUCA (Belgium), in the SAME year as Social Day (Italy, in the Veneto region) and 2007 as Operation Daywork (Italy).
In central Europe, the German organisation Schüler*innen Helfen Leben launched their first SAD in 1998. SHL used the SAD to raise funds for young people to support them during the Yugoslav wars. As a result to their constant support and the impact of the SAD, young people in southeastern Europe were motivated to organise their own Solidarity Action Days: Unija Srednjoškolaca Srbije held its first Solidarity Action Day in 2010 in Serbia, followed by Asocijacija Srednjoškolaca u Bosni i Hercegovini in 2016 in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Unija Srednjoškolaca Crne Gora in 2017 in Montenegro.
Since the SAME office in Lübeck (Germany) was opened, seminars and conferences on "how to organise you own SAD" were offered to interested organisations all over Europe. Since then, three more organisations joined the network as candidate organisations and held their first SADs: Albanian Students Abroad Network (Albania) in 2020, Youth Can (North Macedonia) in 2021 and TOKA (Kosovo) in 2023.
How the SAME network developed
in the Summer of 2011, a few enthusiastic youngsters from seven different organisations met up in the forest near Oslo, Norway. All of these organisations used the same concept of students working one day instead of going to school and donating their salaries to their peers from all over the world.
After this first meeting, the network expanded and developed from an informal group of people to an official European youth organisation with an office in Lübeck (Germany) in 2018 and currently eleven member and candidate organisations, as well as further organisations in the process of organising their first Solidarity Action Day.