Split Community: Can Our Actions Have an Impact?

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On July 19, 2017, Split locals Michael Freer and Ivan Rako took action against a seemingly insignificant nuisance, which had a concrete effect thanks to their ingenuity and Popravi Grad.

On Friday 19th July, Michael Gall wrote a post in the Expat group for Split:

There has been a lot of talk about heroes over the last couple of days. I want to congratulate all of you have lent a hand helping our community.

I want to nominate one more hero. I frequently work from a café in Split 3; every day I watch 20 – 30 individuals trip over a section of uneven sidewalk, but over the past several months, nothing has been done to address the problem.

Today during a meeting, we watched as an 80-year-old Bakin tumbled to the ground, a fall which could have easily resulted in broken bones. A group of bystanders, including myself, went to help her up and make sure she was alright, thankfully she was OK.

While many people simply move on and forget such a problem, Michael Freer and Ivan Rako decided to do something. They went to the dučan and purchased some duct tape. As you can see from the photos, they made sure the danger is clearly marked. I can say that in the past 3 hours, no one has tripped or fallen. Cheers Michael (and Ivan), you are my heroes for the day.

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There we have it, a small action by one, which had a wide-reaching positive impact. But, Freer and Rako didn’t stop there, they then went on to report it to Popravi Grad.

Have you seen this poster or sign around town in Split?

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Ever wondered what it meant?

Well, I did. It wasn’t until myself, Michael Freer and Shannon Solieva made a point of meeting with Čistoća, to learn what happens with recycling in Split (you can read about it here), did we learn about Popravi Grad and I have a feeling a lot of people don’t know about it.

Popravi Grad is a site you can go to and report any issues with the town – vandalism, property repairs, rubbish, damage etc. You simply go to their page, add a photo and comment and the city needs to respond. I haven’t personally used it yet and I was dubious as to whether it actually works, but it turns out…

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It does.

Freer and Rako reported the issue to Popravi Grad and less than two weeks later, their ‘bandage’ has been removed and a concrete (excuse the pun) solution now exists in its place.

I don’t think I need to go into it again, but I will… for whatever else, Split is a fierce community to be a part of. As we have witnessed time and time again, people here have hearts larger than the Adriatic which they open up in times of need. But, I would like to point out, that perhaps, we don’t all need to wait for the large catastrophes, to show how much we support each other and love our community.

Small actions like this, remind me (once again), that we can all have an impact, great or small on our communities. The system may not be perfect in Croatia, but if we all keep trying to do our part, we CAN make a difference.

Be the change you want to see in the world… and you just might change the world – one piece of pavement at a time!

Thanks, Michael Freer, and Ivan Rako for doing your part. Do you have your own story, have you made a positive change in your community, or would you like to nominate your own hero? We would love to hear about it. Email [email protected] to share your story.

If you have an issue in your community which needs resolving, take a photo and head on over to the Popravi Grad website here.


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