Croatia's Volunteer Stories

 

Amalija Krstanović

Association of Retired People Osijek

Amalija _Krstanovic _Portrait”I’m thinking about how narrow our sight is while we are in our own four walls. We see and analyse everything from our perspectives, our feelings, our experiences. I do not know how others see, feel, imagine. It is interesting how we really need to connect, to have fun and take a little care of our own concerns.”Amalija is volunteering at the Association of Retired People in Osijek, where she is involved in organising leisure time activities for people in their “third age”. She spends time with members every day, chats and has coffee, reads the newspapers, plays cards, chess, darts and visits the sick. The activities she arranges and organises include one-day excursions and travels, hiking, swimming, walking and enjoying nature.

 

Darko Cindrić

Association for Therapeutic, Recreational and Sports Riding (MOGU)

Darko _Cindric _PortraitDarko volunteered with the Association for Therapeutic, Recreational and Sports Riding (MOGU), an organisation that works with children with special needs. For example, he worked on maintaining their rooms and as a janitor.

“This work has enriched me in ways that I gained some new experiences. For example, people don’t know they have certain muscles until they go to the gym, just like that, I found the awakening of empathy towards others. So, the key was empathy, together with action.”

”Until you work on something, you do not even know what you can create. Maybe I thought I was not talented for some types of work. But now, through this experience, I see that people have it in themselves, that spark. We do not use it in our daily lives because our obligations prevent us. But there is always time to help someone. Because I have not been involved in these kinds of activities before, only now do I see how useful to the society I can be beside what I do in my normal life.”

 

Dario Čagalj

Graphic and Web Design Volunteer, Info Centre for Youth

Dario _Cagalj _Portrait“For me, volunteering means giving my own time to others or to organizations that need it. At the same time, it means not being at home all the time, considering that I'm unemployed. It gives me an opportunity to be among people, to meet some new people, to have new experiences, opportunities.”

”I've met a lot of new people, who I otherwise would not get the chance to meet. And also, I had the opportunity to work with a lot of associations and organizations, on various projects. That changed the way I saw myself, but also others, even the organisations. It taught me things I did not know before.”

 

Debbie Van Kreckem

Volunteer Centre Osijek

Debbie _Van _Kreckem _PortraitDebbie volunteered with the Volunteer Centre Osijek to organise activities for unaccompanied minors from a migrant or refugee background.

“Organising activities for children was something completely new for me, as was directly working with refugees. But experience isn’t everything (unlike what most employers seem to think). All you have to do is wake up your inner child and think about your own skills and interests. In this way, everyone can contribute something, with the right amount of flexibility, receptiveness and empathy. In the end, we are all human and you are not doing activities with aliens.”

 

Igor Nedic

Graphic and Web Design Volunteer, Volunteer Centre Osijek

Igor _Nedic _PortraitIgor volunteers at Volunteer Centre Osijek with a program for vulnerable children in elementary school. The programme is called ”Help in learning”. As a recently graduated English teacher, for him, volunteering to make learning English easier for the children is an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills developed in college in a classroom.

 

Ivana Gašparac

Volunteer of Volunteer Centre Osijek

Ivana _Gasparac _Portrait"My experience in working with unaccompanied minor migrants has taught me a lot more than I could have ever imagined. I've learned that we do not have to know the same language to understand each other.

I've learned that a sincere smile can alleviate jitters and nervousness and do far more than words. I've learned that by giving our free time we can get experiences that we would never get from just watching television."