Six Local Heroes Commended for Humanitarian Work in Croatia

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 3, 2019 – The European Commission has chosen six Croats who have distinguished themselves in humanitarian work or in environmentalist activities financially supported by the EU, and the selection of those “local heroes” has been conducted within the programme called “EU protects”.

They are praised for their work which has had a big impact in their respective communities. “It’s the EU, which makes it possible for these heroes to come together to address the problems that go beyond national borders, whether organised crime or climate change,” says the EC.

The EU Protect programme was launched six months ago across the European Union member states.

In Croatia, the four awarded people – three women and a man – were proclaimed local heroes for their humanitarian activism, and the remaining two “heroes ” have distinguished themselves in the protection of the Adriatic Sea.

One of those six Croatian heroes is student Melani Boris from the Zamisli association that supports students with disabilities.

Benefitting from the services of the association, Melani joined their ERASMUS+ project, Support for Students with Disabilities in 2016, and began promoting these students’ right to live independently, the Commission says in the explanation.

She is now the manager of the Personal Assistant project, where she works as a mentor to welcome new beneficiaries of the project. She is also a part of a campaign to provide housing and support to young people with disabilities who wish to live independently.

The second hero is Tatjana Aćimović, art director of the Children’s Rights Festival.

“For the past 10 years, Tatjana Aćimović has been helping to organise a festival that promotes children’s rights by screening European films, many of which were funded by the European Union. This is the first and only public event in Croatia accessible to people with visual or hearing impairments.”

Mira Katalenić, a volunteer for the Croatian Guide Dog and Mobility Association, is also one of the three female local heroes.

Katalenić joined the group of activists working for the Croatian Guide Dog and Mobility Association at the beginning of the 1990s. The association carries out several EU-funded projects, one of which provides mobile support services to create conditions for better inclusion of blind people in the labour market and society.

“All Mira’s time and energy is now devoted towards developing orientation and mobility programmes for blind people in Croatia, assistance dog programmes for people with disabilities and children with developmental difficulties.”

Budimir Šobot Buda of the Association for Disabled People, has been chosen for his dedicated 18-year-long activism aimed at raising awareness of the needs of people with autism.

“At the Association for Disabled People in the town of Petrinja, Sisak-Moslavina County, Budimir works on two main projects that receive EU funds. His aim is to make sure that autistic people have the same rights as everybody else. In his effort to raise awareness of autism, he broke a world record by spending 24 minutes and 11 seconds under water without air.”

Researcher Draško Holcer, who works as a senior curator at Croatian Natural History Museum, has distinguished himself in in ecology and the conservation of large marine vertebrates..

This marine biologist currently coordinates LIFE Euroturtles, an EU-funded project, and helps sea turtles in the Northern Adriatic. He and his team have worked with LED lights as a tool to mitigate sea turtle capture in fishing nets.

The third male hero in this group is Tonći Prodan, who was a maritime safety consultant at Croatia’s National Protection and Rescue Directorate during the international field exercise Adriatic 2018, and who was proclaimed a local hero for his efforts to protect the Adriatic Sea.

Funded by the European Union, this large-scale spill pollution exercise aimed to coordinate action among the concerned countries around the Adriatic Sea. Tonći led a team of eminent Croatian experts and scientists from the security field. He holds a doctorate on “The US and the EU in combating terrorism – strategy, models and results” and is a European and world-renowned expert in the field of terrorism and security threats.

More news on the European Commission can be found in the Politics section.


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