Koprivnica in Final Running for Prestigious European Capital of Inclusion Title

Katarina Anđelković

Updated on:

Photo: ec.europa.eu
Photo: ec.europa.eu

Last week, as Lokalni.hr writes, Koprivnica received great news from the European Union capital, Brussels: confirmation of entry among the 23 finalist cities in the run for the European Capital of Inclusion and Diversity Award. As many as seven Spanish cities entered the final for this important award, including Barcelona and Bilbao; four cities from Germany (Cologne, Mannheim), three from Italy (Bologna), two from Romania, Belgium, and Sweden, and one each from France, Croatia, and Luxembourg.

Koprivnica was among the cities that have shown a high level of responsibility in promoting and supporting inclusion and diversity in their local communities. The city government believes that learning about diversity from an early age ensures a lasting attitude, a life without prejudice, and coexistence in which diversity is a normal part of everyday life. Koprivnica is known as a friendly and smart city.

Ten percent of its population have disabilities, and the city received the Employer of the Year for People with Disabilities Award in 2008. The city administration’s strategy for a unified policy for people with disabilities creates preconditions for equalizing opportunities for people with disabilities and preventing social exclusion, they explain.

The Council of National Minorities also protects the rights of minorities such as Roma who receive a different kind of support, including kindergarten. Data on assistance, programs, and activities implemented by the city administration are monitored and collected as part of quality assurance.

“Koprivnica is the only Croatian city that entered the finals of the European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity. This is the result of numerous social and demographic measures, activities, programs, and projects that we implement in our institutions, and which are recognized at the European level. Koprivnica has been nominated in two categories, which makes us extremely happy”, emphasized the Mayor of Koprivnica, Mišel Jakšić.

For a long time, the city has been working to include members of the Roma national minority in all spheres of life, providing them with affordable kindergartens and including them in preschool education. For example, children who are still learning Croatian are provided with Roma translators. These and other measures, such as financial support, have resulted in more Roma children in pre-school, primary, and secondary education.

In cooperation with the Roma association Kali Sara, the city administration has built a children’s park and a sports playground in the Reka suburb, home to many Roma. At the Pučko Otvoreno Učilište Koprivnica, founded by the City, the emphasis is on teaching children and youth that diversity is a normal part of everyday life. Their efforts include re-education and vocational education programs. The ceremony to announce the winners will take place in Brussels on April 28 this year.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.


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