In these dark times, all our collective memory seems to remember is conflicts, social uprisings, pandemics, economics crisis… Each of us is so wrapped up in his/her own issues that we tend to overlook how we can help each other. Today, I am talking about a country which has once not caught our attention because its people are as peaceful as they come. A country that has gone through a lot in the past decades but has not once asked for our help. A country that has survived war and economic crisis and came out stronger and more peaceful.
A peaceful stable country in one of the most unstable regions of Europe, had to go through several metamorphoses in the last century to get where it is now. Its powerful mix of both western and eastern europe culture has simply turned it into a pearl of the mediterranean.
Today I am going to talk about Croatia.
Walking through its streets, you cannot help but feel overwhelmed looking at its baroque architecture and outstanding sculptures.
We have not once heard of Croatia being the source of conflict even during the epitome of political instability in old Yugoslavia. A country where ethnic and religious differences are well protected. A country that has always believed in peace above all. A country that should be an example to follow for all of us.
This country is in need of our help, for this country has suffered a misfortune that is above our control.
HIGH MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE HITS CROATIA:
On December 29th 2020, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, which was felt across the Balkans and as far away as Hungary, hit Central Croatia. The towns of Petrinja, Sisak and Glinan were the most severely hit. The region’s largest hospital was rendered largely unusable because of damage.
Although these towns are but 50 miles away from the capital Zagreb, they are by far part of one of the poorest regions in Croatia. As though it was not enough that these towns already carry the weight of heavy socio economic burdens, this earthquake presents an enormous handicap to their future as thriving economically independent cities. As Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said: “The biggest part of central Petrinja is in a red zone which means that most of the buildings are not usable,”, which in other words means that besides from people’s homes and memories, basic life necessities such as schools, were also rendered unusable.
DISTRICT 1913 FIRST REACTION:
With the tremendous mouvements of solidarity towards the earthquake victims and with the help of more than fifty Rotary clubs from Croatia, District 1913 secured in record time several containers of disinfectants, food, protective shoes and clothes. Additionally, the Croatian Rotary District has been allocated to Rotary Disaster Grant, which, according to the needs of the field, will be used to strengthen the capacity of the health department of Sisak, through the procurement of medical equipment for water quality assessment and purification, given that water supply capacities are significantly contaminated.
“However, as you know, these subsidies only managed to help in the short term. Therefore, Rotary clubs decided to contribute to the damaged zone’s recovery through strategic, sustainable projects that are constantly helping and empowering people of this region, especially with actions aimed at renovating not only construction and infrastructure, but primarily people’s lives.” said Dr. HrvojeKenfelj, governor of Croatian Rotary District 1913.
LONG TERM STRATEGIC RECONSTRUCTION:
Gathering information directly from the field, members of the Rotary family have succeeded in “scheduling high school scholarships for the children of the families who suffered the most, ensuring the conditions for the long-term continuation of these areas. The scholarship project will provide more information about the condition and needs of a family in the long run, and open the possibility of additional opportunities for helping. Rotary scholarship program will include 250 students.”
ROTARACT MEDITERRANEAN FUNDRAISING:
In assistance to the District 1913 project, Rotaract Mediterranean has alsolaunched a fundraising campaign to help children who have seen their daily lives directly affected by the disaster, in order to maintain access to education in secondary schools.
With the help of local Rotaractors, and hopefully yours as well, we aim to finance basic school supplies (schoolbags, notebooks, pens, calculators and other essential materials) for as many children as possible and most importantly for those that need it the most.
Our goal is plain and simple: 50€ worth of supplies for each child in need. With only 5000€, we will be able to save these children whose homes have been destroyed by the earthquake.
In the dawn of natural catastrophe, we now more than ever need to help CROATIA STAY STRONG !
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BY Alia TRIKI