30 Years of Helping the Sick, the Poor and the Lonely

Total Croatia News

“A day does not have a purpose unless I help somebody,” says Marija Fulgosi.

When the heart is full of love for others, everything can be achieved, begins her story Marija Fulgosi, a Šibenik-born woman who has been living in Zagreb for more than 40 years, reports 24sata.hr on May 23, 2017.

She has a degree in tourism and she worked in the hotel industry her whole life. Even while working, she helped others, but since she retired she has even more free time to help the needy. More than 30 years ago, she was walking through Palmotićeva Street in Zagreb and saw an ad asking for people who have time and will to help others.

Her first assignment was to visit a lady with impaired hearing. “I took some plums and a flower, just enough to break the ice. And I see a lady with a walker coming towards me, looking at the sky and saying, ‘Thank you, Mother of God, I have been praying all day asking for someone to come to the doors and you have come.’ And then I realised I was on the right path,” she says.

Together with Fr. Antun Cvek, she is the co-founder of the Kap Dobrote Association, which helps the poor and forgotten, but her heart is the fullest when she cares for children. That is why she still volunteers at the Special Hospital for Chronic Paediatric Diseases in Gornja Bistra. “I come from a Catholic family and we always help others, especially the elderly. So I wanted to make good use of my time. In the early 1990s, I met a woman who had a child at Gornja Bistra and she told me about the hospital. Then I suggested to Father Cvek that we try to see how we could help. There are many children living there with severe diagnoses and often without anyone to care for them. They live longer only thanks to the love and sacrifice of the volunteers,” explains Marija.

When she first came to the hospital as a volunteer, she asked a nurse if there was a certain time when she should come and how long she should stay. “She said to me, ‘If a volunteer does not come, the child stays in bed all day, because they do not have anyone to take them for a walk.’’ These words have sunk into my heart and since then my obligation is to go to Bistrica twice a week. If I do not go, that day is completely without purpose. It is difficult to explain. Simply, if I do not come, who will provide them with love and smiles,” continues Marija.

There she also met a girl who is now 30 years old. Her parents live abroad and once a year they send her a birthday card. She has spent her entire life in the hospital and could not imagine life elsewhere. “We hang out, laugh, I try to make her days happier. I have found myself in this mission and that is why I do not have a family. If I had, it would be much harder for me, and this is actually a job that fills my time and all those children are my family,” adds Marija. “We are all like a big family, we know each other, so when I open the door of a room or a playroom, I can only hear them saying happily, ‘’Marija!” They become part of your life. I cannot change their lives, but I can make them easier. And that is enough for me, I know that I have helped where the help is the most needed,” says Marija.

No one in this world is completely alone and abandoned because there are always people who care – that is one of the most important things that Marija has learnt through volunteering.


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